Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 31, 2012
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
TCC Fly-In Calls on Congress to Complete Action on Transportation Bill
House Motion to Cut Current Transportation Funding Levels May be Considered
CONGRESS
House Approves another Temporary Flood Insurance Extension
Vote on Government Mandated Project Labor Agreement Expected in House
AGC PAC
Texas Primary: Romney Wins & Clinches Nomination; AGC PAC-Supported Candidates Win
AGC EVENTS
Free Webinar for AGC Members and Chapters: The Changing Scope of the Clean Water Act
Walking the Compliance Tightrope How to Meet Legal Requirements for Public Work Eight-Part AGC Webinar Series
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TRANSPORTATION
TCC Fly-In Calls on Congress to Complete Action on Transportation Bill
 

Close to 400 members of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) came to Washington, D.C. this week as part of the 11th Annual TCC Legislative Fly-In to urge Congress to complete action on the transportation reauthorization bill before the current extension expires on June 30. The participants heard from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and the Ranking Democrat Nick Rahall (W.Va.), who discussed the status of negotiations between the 47 members of the House/Senate Conference Committee who are charged with negotiating a compromise bill. Chairman Mica indicated that members of the T&I Committee are actively participating in the staff deliberations in an effort to keep discussions moving forward. Rep. Rahall said he was cautiously optimistic that the negotiations will be successful. Senate Environment and Public Committee’s staff director told the group that Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) is committed to working with the House conferees to develop a bill that will receive enough support to be enacted.

The speakers indicated that some of the issues will not easily be negotiated, such as the approval of construction of the keystone pipeline and whether to prohibit EPA from designating fly ash as a hazardous waste – these issues will most likely be set aside for now and dealt with when other issues have been resolved. TCC participants delivered the message to their congressional delegations that a bill needs to be completed now to ensure that there will be no disruption in state bidding schedules as we enter peak construction season. TCC members called for at least maintaining the FY 2011 funding levels in a deficit neutral fashion and called for the inclusion of long-overdue policy reforms, particularly related to improving the timeline on environmental review and approval.

Photo Caption: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) provides an update on the status of the surface transportation reauthorization bill to attendees of the 2012 Transportation Coalition (TCC) Fly-In.  AGC co-chairs the TCC. 

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

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House Motion to Cut Current Transportation Funding Levels May be Considered
 

Rep. Paul Broun (R- Ga.) has threatened to bring a motion to the House floor as early as tonight, which would instruct House conferees to insist on limiting total "funding out of the Highway Trust Fund" in FY 2012 and 2013 to the revenue from gas tax receipts that the Congressional Budget Office currently projects will be deposited in the Trust Fund. Under the motion, total funding in 2012 and 2013 would be about twenty-five percent below current levels.  Since FY 2012 is more than half over the actual impact of the motion would be a 60 percent reduction in funding for the remained of the fiscal year. While the Broun motion is non-binding, if it were to be adopted by the House, it would be a very strong signal that certain members of the House want to cut highway and transit funding for their states and every other state. TCC members participating in the 11th Annual Fly-In were made aware of this proposed motion and discussed the negative ramifications on the construction industry and the nation’s transportation program with their members of Congress. AGC and our construction and transportation industry coalitions are contacting House members urging members of the House to oppose this resolution.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

CONGRESS
House Approves another Temporary Flood Insurance Extension
 

The House approved a short-term, 60-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program yesterday, keeping the program alive and setting the stage for continued debate over reform this summer. The bill was approved by a voice vote.

The Senate plans to debate a five-year reauthorization and reform bill over the coming months.  The National Flood Insurance Program provides government-subsidized insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency in flood-prone regions. Currently, it is nearly $18 billion in debt from 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Congress has tried unsuccessfully to overhaul the program since 2003, and have relied on a series of short-term extensions to keep the program running since 2008.  But things are becoming more serious. The current short-term extension eliminates subsidies for flood insurance coverage on vacation and other second homes.  The long-term authorization is expected to consider premium increases and phasing out subsidies on repetitive loss properties, and updating flood mapping.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

Vote on Government Mandated Project Labor Agreement Expected in House
 

Later this evening, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is expected to offer an amendment to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 5854) that would remove a provision that eliminates government-mandated project labor agreements on federal construction contracts. AGC sent this letter to the House today urging  opposition to the amendment.

While AGC neither supports nor opposes PLAs in general, AGC strongly opposes government mandates for PLAs on publically funded construction projects.  AGC is committed to free and open competition in all public construction markets and believes that publically funded contracts should be awarded without regard to the lawful labor relations policies and practices of the government contractor.  AGC will continue to work with Congress to encourage free and open competition on all federal contracts.

Two weeks ago, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment, by voice vote, to the Milcon/VA Appropriations bill, which was offered by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), that would prohibit the federal government from mandating the use of a PLA or favoring a contractor because of the signing of a PLA. The Grimm Amendment would strip this language from the bill. 

To send a letter to your representative, please use AGC’s Legislative Action Center.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC PAC
Texas Primary: Romney Wins & Clinches Nomination; AGC PAC-Supported Candidates Win
 

Governor Mitt Romney won the Texas primary on Tuesday, thereby clinching the Republican nomination for president. With the Texas victory, Romney won all 152 delegates at stake and surpassed the 1,144 delegates necessary for the nomination.

On the congressional electoral front, 13 of 14 – or 92 percent – of AGC PAC-supported Texas candidates won their race. Among those who won, Rep. Kevin Brady had a strong showing, winning more than 70 percent of the vote. Rep. Brady has voted with AGC 86 percent of the time over his eight terms in Congress. A senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee – with jurisdiction over all tax issues – the congressman has most recently voted for the highway reauthorization bill, to repeal the health care reform law and to repeal the three percent tax withholding mandate.

AGC continues to monitor the field for construction friendly candidates running for Congress.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC EVENTS
Free Webinar for AGC Members and Chapters: The Changing Scope of the Clean Water Act
 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps) are on the cusp of releasing guidance on how they interpret their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. AGC is part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, which is putting on a webinar – free to AGC members and chapters – to describe the effect this will have on industry. The panel will include industry experts who will discuss the practical implications of how the upcoming guidance will impact our nation’s agriculture, construction, energy, housing, manufacturing, mining, and real estate sectors.

To RSVP for the webinar, click here

To tell your members of Congress to halt this jurisdictional overreach, click here

For more information, contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org or Leah Pilconis at (703) 837-5332 or pilconisl@agc.org. Return to Top

Walking the Compliance Tightrope How to Meet Legal Requirements for Public Work Eight-Part AGC Webinar Series
 

Doing public work for federal, state and local agencies has become riskier and more challenging each year. Even small mistakes made while working to meet complex requirements can have enormous consequences. Only contractors working for federal agencies are required by law to implement an ethics and compliance program, but all government contractors are at risk of costly suspension or debarment if violations occur, and all contractors have a reputation to protect. 

AGC’s eight-part Compliance Webinar Series will provide a practical way to help contractors educate key personnel on the ever-growing risk of liability and help demonstrate your organization’s commitment to following the rules of the road. To learn more and register, click here.

For more information, please contact Sarah Black at 703-837-5352 or blacks@agc.org. Return to Top

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