Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org July 12, 2012
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On the Inside
ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT
House Panel Passes Critical Flood Control Dam Funding
ADMINISTRATION
House Committee Redresses Legislation Limiting Federal Agency Participation at Conferences
HEALTHCARE
House Votes to Repeal Healthcare Bill
AGC EVENTS
Safety & Hill Professionals Advocate for a Safe and Healthy Work Environment
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ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT
House Panel Passes Critical Flood Control Dam Funding
 

On July 12, the House Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill that would authorize $85 million a year through FY 2017 for the Small Watershed Rehabilitation (SWR) program, the nation’s only dam rehabilitation program. This 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.  

In addition to the $85 million annual authorization level, the bill includes $250 million for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which can also be utilized for further supplementing the SWR program.  It is important to note, however, that these authorized funds can only be realized when and if lawmakers actually appropriate the funds at the authorized levels.

Watershed infrastructure is a vital component to the nation’s flood control efforts and this infrastructure sorely needs improvement.  Currently, $15 billion worth 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 reach this milestone.

Last month, the Senate approved a farm bill that includes the same $85 million authorization level, but not additional funds for the CCC. AGC continues to strongly advocate for sorely needed investment in our nation’s aging infrastructure, including its dams.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5310 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

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ADMINISTRATION
House Committee Redresses Legislation Limiting Federal Agency Participation at Conferences
 

Prior to the July 4 recess, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee passed legislation – H.R. 4631, “The GSA Act of 2012” – redressing the proposal that would severely restrict federal agency participation in conferences hosted by private organizations. Working with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), AGC was the only other organization in the room to meet with House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and House leadership concerning this issue.

This legislation came as a result of overly restrictive provisions within other measures—H.R. 2146 and S. 1789—which passed separately, with minimal debate, in both the House and Senate as a response to the General Services Administration training conference scandal. Though not enacted into law, the old proposal would have barred a federal agency from sending more than one staff member to meet with an association like AGC in any given year. A reasonable reading might be, for example, if employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) attend a construction conference sponsored by one AGC chapter, no other USACE employees could attend any other conference or meeting sponsored by an AGC-affiliated organization until the next fiscal year.

Though H.R. 4631 is a step in the right direction, legislation with the restrictive conference provisions still remains viable in the Senate. AGC will continue to work closely with ASAE to address these provisions in the Senate.

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

HEALTHCARE
House Votes to Repeal Healthcare Bill
 

On July 11, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the repeal of the Obamacare Act (H.R. 6079) with bipartisan support which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), but will not receive a vote in the senate. The vote was the thirty-third time the House has voted to repeal all or a part of the health care bill. AGC has been concerned with the new mandates, new taxes and incentives that will harm the workplace and the relationship between employers and their employees. The law brings another uncertainty to employers – the yet-to-be-released regulations and guidance, many of which are already behind schedule.

AGC will continue to work with congress on identifying portions of the law that could be changed to bring the costs of the law down and make it more flexible for employers. AGC will also monitor regulations as they are released and communicate to members on how they will have to comply with it.

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

AGC EVENTS
Safety & Hill Professionals Advocate for a Safe and Healthy Work Environment
 

This week, over 130 contractors traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the 2012 AGC Safety and Health Committee Meeting.  In addition to the networking opportunities and forums with federal agencies, attendees received updates on legislative issues that directly affect the safety and health professionals in the construction industry. Attendees were also able to schedule visits with their congressional delegations.

During the congressional visits, the safety and health professionals addressed the industry and AGC’s strong and lasting commitment to safety, while also stressing the importance of taking a cooperative approach to safety. Cooperative relationships between the construction industry and OSHA help promote safe and healthy work environments. Attendees advocated that many proposed regulations could have a negative impact on the industry and should be reconsidered before being implemented.

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

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