Supreme Court Rules on Healthcare Law
Today, the Supreme Court upheld
the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – the individual mandate. As a result, most of the Affordable Care Act
currently in effect will remain in effect unless future legislation revokes any
of those provisions.
the law, by 2014, each of the fifty states will need to create exchanges and employers with 50 or more workers must offer coverage or
face a penalty of $2,000 for each employee receiving insurance that is
subsidized by the government. Subsidized
insurance companies are also no longer able to exclude individuals with
addition, next year, the threshold for claiming medical expenses on tax returns
will be increased and the limit on flexible spending accounts will decrease. Two new taxes will also be imposed on all
taxpayers making more than $200,000 per year and on couples earning more than
$250,000, the first tax is a 2.35 percent Medicare payroll tax, and the second
is a 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends and other unearned income. Furthermore, in 2015,
a new excise tax will be imposed on employer-provided plans that cost between
$11,850 and $30,950.
were successful repealing the 1099 mandate last year, other paperwork requirements that remain in place
- Changes to W–2 Forms: Effective in 2011,
employers are required to include the cost of employer-sponsored health
coverage on the employee’s W-2.
- Notice to Employees: Effective March 1,
2013, or upon subsequent hire, employers must provide written notice to
employees about exchange information, eligibility for tax credit or
cost-sharing reduction and possible loss of employer contribution.
- Report on Health Insurance Coverage:
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, large employers must file a report on health coverage
and make information available to employees.
- Automatic Enrollment: Employers with more
than 200 employees must automatically enroll full-time employees in a health
plan and provide employees adequate notice and an opportunity to opt-out.
opposed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because it did not create a
framework that would reduce healthcare costs. Instead, it imposed new
mandates on insurance companies, employers and individuals that are likely
to increase the cost of providing health care while limiting healthcare
options. It also financed the new costs by shifting obligations to the
states (increased Medicare coverage), raising taxes on a small portion of the
population (Medicare surtax and tax on unearned income), and imposed a tax on
so-called “Cadillac health plans.” The House of Representatives has announced
plans to hold votes for full repeal of the healthcare act in July, but even if
passed in the House, repeal bills are unlikely to pass the Senate.
For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at
(202) 547-3350 or email@example.com.
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Agreement on Transportation Reauthorization Reached – Conference Report Goes to House and Senate for Final Approval
The House and Senate leadership and conferees reached an agreement
yesterday on the final outstanding issues in the transportation reauthorization
negotiations. Logistical issues related to finalizing language and getting sign-off
from all conferees has kept the conference report from being formally filed. The
Senate and House, however, are still expected to vote on the measure before the
June 30 deadline, in time to avoid the need for a 10th extension of highway and
transit program authorization.
The conference report was posted online early Thursday
morning and AGC is now in the process of analyzing its content. The following
are the broad parameters of the agreement:
- The authorization is
extended through the end of FY 2014 (this is one year longer than the
authorization contained in the Senate passed MAP-21). The authorized
funding levels for the highway and transit programs are as follows:
$ 8.478 B
$ 8.595 B
- Significant reform of the
environmental review and planning requirements, with the Senate moving
closer to the House provisions on many streamlining issues.
enhancement funding will be split, with 50 percent provided to local
governments and 50 percent to states. States will be permitted to opt out
of the enhancement requirements and instead use these funds for
- Consolidation of
programs giving states more flexibility in using their transportation
- It also includes
RESTORE Act provisions that dedicate penalties paid by BP for the 2010
Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for coastline
A provision included in the House-passed bill to restrict the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating coal ash as a hazardous substance was
dropped, as was a provision approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
AGC has contacted all Senators and Representatives urging
them to vote in favor of the conference report and indicating that this is an
AGC Key Vote. AGC members are urged to deliver the same message to their
Senators and Representative. You can send a message to your Congressional
delegation through AGC’s Legislative Action Center.
AGC will provide you with more details on the conference
report once all of the details have been analyzed.
For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House Appropriations Committee Approves Interior/Environment Legislation
The House Appropriations
Committee approved the FY 2013 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which includes
funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), the Forest Service, and various independent and related agencies. In
total, the bill cuts of $1.2 billion below last year’s level, with $870 million
(or 73 percent) coming in the form of cuts to the State Revolving Funds (SRF) for
clean water and drinking water infrastructure. The Committee approved only $689
million in its FY 2013 budget for the Clean Water SRF (a 53 percent cut over FY
2012) and $829 million for the Drinking Water SRF (a cut of nearly 10 percent
as compared to FY 2012).
These numbers remain unchanged from the Subcommittee’s
version of the legislation approved last week (see story and video).
In the time leading up to the full Committee’s markup, AGC joined industry
partners in the design and construction industry with a letter once again calling for restoration
of funding to the SRFs at least to last year’s levels. The letter highlights
the skyrocketing need for restored funding levels due to reduced federal
spending over the past decade and increased federal mandates to meet treatment
In addition to reductions in the SRF accounts, the Committee
approved an amendment that would apply ‘Buy American’ domestic sourcing
requirements for iron, steel and manufactured goods to the Clean Water SRF and
Drinking Water SRF. AGC opposed this amendment and joined industry partners in design, equipment
manufacture and distribution, construction, trade, and business in calling
for its defeat.
On the positive side, the legislation also includes a
provision that would ban funding for EPA for the purposes of implementing their guidance on Clean Water Act jurisdictional determination. The provision joins a similar
one offered by Rep. Rehberg (R-Mont.) on the Energy
and Water Appropriations legislation.
It remains to be seen how these cuts and policy provisions
will fare if and when this legislation is considered by the full House. It
should be noted that similar levels of funding were proposed in last year’s
Interior/Environment funding legislation, which also made it this far. However,
those cuts were drastically reduced in the final
compromise omnibus legislation. AGC will continue to report on this issue as
For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or email@example.com.
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GSA Seeks Comments on Green Building Certification
The General Services Administration (GSA) will issue a
recommendation in the fall on whether the federal government should: (1)
continue using a third-party certification system as the primary federal
standard for energy-saving green buildings; and (2) determine if other
certification systems, besides LEED, should be accepted.
To help guide its recommendation, GSA is holding a virtual
listening session on July 10 at 2:00 pm ET seeking comments on its Green Building Certification
System Report (see bottom of website). If you would like to participate, you
must register by July 3 and can do so by clicking here.
Topics for discussion include:
- The EISA§436(h) report evaluating green building
- Interrelationships among green building
certification systems and recently promulgated green building standards (i.e.
ASHRAE 189.1 and the IGCC).
- Federal high performance building design,
construction and operations requirements.
- Proposed revisions to the High Performance and
Sustainable Building Guiding Principles.
- Metrics to inform building performance tracking
- Consideration of cost effectiveness: how high
performance in buildings can reduce the total cost of ownership.
For a more detailed list of topics for discussion, click here.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senate Passes Critical Flood Control Dam Funding
On June 21, the Senate passed a
farm bill that would authorize $425 million—$85 million per year for five
years—for the nation’s only dam rehabilitation program. The Small Watershed
Rehabilitation program assists local communities with improving aging flood
control dams, thereby helping to address public health and safety needs before
a tragic dam failure occurs.
The current $15 billion infrastructure of 11,000 flood
control dams and conservation practices in 2,000 watersheds provides $2 billion
in annual benefits to over 47 million citizens. As it stands, nearly one-fifth
of those 11,000 dams have reached the end of their 50-year planned service
life. By 2016, almost two-thirds of the watershed dams will have reached this
Action on the farm bill now moves to the House of
Representatives, where the House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up its
bill on July 11. AGC continues to strongly advocate for sorely needed
investment in our nation’s aging infrastructure, including its dams.
For more information, please contact Jimmy
Christianson at 703-837-5310 or email@example.com.
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AGC Analyzes Cost of New Hiring Quotas for Federal Construction Contractors
In response to the Labor Department's Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed major changes to the rules
governing federal contractor affirmative action programs (AAP) for covered
veterans ("Section 4212") and individuals
with disabilities ("Section 503"), AGC has completed an analysis
of the rule’s true financial and administrative burden for federal construction
OFCCP's existing Section 4212 and Section 503 regulations
emphasize contractor good-faith efforts to recruit, select, retain and develop
qualified veterans and individuals with disabilities, and neither of these
regulatory programs has ever required numerical goals or benchmarks. The rules
will now include numerical benchmarks, a 7 percent hiring goal for these
classes of workers, along with numerous recordkeeping requirements.
AGC’s analysis shows the proposed new hiring quota for the
disabled would cost employers 30 times more than officials predict while a new
hiring quota for veterans would cost employers 20 times more than originally
estimated. To read AGC’s recent press release and the analysis, click here.
It is expected that the rules will be finalized later this year.
For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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GSA Delays New Federal Contractor Registration System Implementation
The General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced that it is moving
the implementation date of the System for Award Management (SAM)—the federal
government’s new registration system-- from May 29, 2012, to the end of July
2012. According to GSA, the additional time “will allow federal agencies to
continue preparing their staff, give agencies and commercial system providers
even more time to test their data transfer connections, and will ensure SAM
contains the critical, documented capabilities users need from the system.”
As a result of SAM’s implementation, the Central Contractor
Registration (CCR) system will no longer exist. Additionally, SAM will
incorporate the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA),
the Federal Agency Registration (FedReg), and the Excluded Parties List System
(EPLS). The federal government will transfer information for those contractors
already registered in CCR and ORCA.
For a brief introduction to SAM, click here.
For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325
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