Fiscal Cliff Update
With the nation hurtling towards the fiscal cliff,
mounting federal debt, the 2001, 2003, and 2010 tax cuts set to expire, the
imposition of sequestration and the prospect of hitting the federal debt limit
early next year, there seems to be little area of common ground between
Democrats and Republicans.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed Congress
saying, “The most effective way that the Congress could help to support the
economy right now would be to work to address the nation’s fiscal challenges in
a way that takes into account both the need for long-run sustainability and the
fragility of the recovery…Doing so earlier rather than later would help reduce
uncertainty and boost household and business confidence.” In addition,
Morgan Stanley said this week that concerns about the fiscal cliff are reaching
new heights across a wide range of industries. It is already seeing reductions
in business orders and hiring, among other areas.
Republicans in the House and Senate have said that there is
little chance of a grand compromise on taxes and long term debt this year. They
recommend that Congress extend all expiring and expired tax provisions for one
year to give time for tax reform and comprehensive deficit reduction to take
In the Senate, Democrats unveiled a tax bill that focuses on
enacting much of President Obama’s campaign themes by raising rates on those
earning more than $250,000 and increasing dividends and capital gains from 15
to 20 percent. The dividend increase is actually lower than the 250
percent increase that the president mentioned in a speech earlier this month. The
proposal will also increase the estate tax back to a top rate of 55 percent
with a million dollar exemption. In
addition, fourth ranking Senate Democrat Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced in a
speech this week that Democrats would rather see the rates go up for everyone
than cut a deal with Republicans that doesn’t include separating those making
$250,000 and above from the rest of taxpayers.
Simpson Bowles, co-author Erskine Bowles, announced a new
coalition –the “Campaign to Fix the Debt” – headed up by former Governor Ed
Rendell (D-Pa.) and former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) that
includes CEOs of big companies. The coalition is working on a nationwide
media campaign to build public support for the tough decisions that have to be
made to deal with the nation’s debt. The coalition is rewriting the
Simpson-Bowles plan to include Medicare and Medicaid reform and other policy changes
as a starting point for discussions.
AGC has urged Congress to extend all tax policies for one
year and work in a bipartisan fashion to deal with comprehensive debt
For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House Appropriations Subcommittee Considers DOL/HHS Spending Bill, Recommends Policy Changes
On July 18, 2012 the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee
on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies passed the FY
2013 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill. The legislation
includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor (DOL), the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education, and
other related agencies including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and
several important policy changes.
In total, the bill includes $150 billion in discretionary
funding, which is a cut of $6.3 billion below last year’s level and $8.8
billion below the president’s budget request. Many of the savings are a
result of a prohibition on any new discretionary funding for the healthcare
In addition to spending cuts, the legislation contains
several policy provisions that are of interest to the construction
industry. The bill includes provisions that would rein in the NLRB and
DOL. The first would block the August 2011 decision in Specialty Healthcare,
which opened the door to micro-unions. Another provision would stop the
NLRB’s final rule on “quickie elections,” which was struck down by a U.S.
District Court on procedural grounds in May, but the NLRB has stated they hope
to reissue the rule. Finally, another provision would prohibit funds from
being used to implements DOL’s “persuader” rulemaking.
Several safety and health provisions are in the bill, including
a provision prohibiting the implementation of an expensive and inefficient
one-size-fits-all injury and illness prevention program, which would eliminate
costly burdens on businesses large or small. Also included is a
prohibition on funding for the Mine Safety and Health Administration to
continue the development or the implementation of a coal mine dust regulation.
The bill zeros out the Susan Harwood training grants. It is important to note
that, through Susan Harwood grants, AGC has been able to develop and implement
programs that provide free safety and health training nationwide on the focus
four hazards in construction for thousands of construction workers. AGC hopes
to see funding for this important program restored.
Among other policy provisions in the bill, it prevents DOL
and HHS from requiring project labor agreements on projects funded by the bill
and includes a provision prohibiting the implementation of new H-2B Program
regulations to reduce unnecessary requirements and excessive costs to
The spending bill is the last of 12 annual spending bills to
move through the House and is expected to be considered by the full
Appropriations committee next week. However, the Senate is not planning to
consider any of the 12 annual appropriation bills before the end of the fiscal
year, September 30.
information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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AGC Urges House Panel to Move on DOD Report Counting Lower Tier Small Business Subcontractors
On July 16, AGC sent a letter to the House Armed Services Committee Chairman
Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Ranking Democrat Adam Smith (D-Wash.) urging them to
encourage the Department of Defense (DOD) to issue its report on counting small
business participation at all tiers. With AGC encouragement, HASC mandated in
the National Defense
Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2012 Committee Report that DOD develop
procedures for fully accounting for small business contracting participation at
all tiers on a DOD contract. The committee requested this information by March
30, 2012, but has not received a written report from DOD to date.
To improve federal contracting opportunities for small
businesses, understanding the full extent of small business participation is
essential. Under the current system, if an “other-than small business” is
included as a first-tier subcontractor, the prime contractor cannot report the
flow of dollars to small businesses hired below the first-tier subcontractor
for small business procurement goal purposes. Counting all small business lower
tier subcontractors will help identify areas where small businesses are being
AGC strongly holds that the goal of federal small business
contracting programs must be measured by the full counting of small business
subcontracting at all tiers. This will more accurately show how the
construction industry supports and is dependent upon small businesses.
For more information contact Jimmy Christianson at
703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AGC Files Comments to Proposed SBA Rules on Multiple Award Contracts
On July 16, AGC filed comments on proposed Small Business Administration (SBA) rules
on multiple award contracts (MAC), bundling and consolidation. If finalized,
the proposed rules would further streamline and clarify SBA regulations on the
books regarding MACs and small business set-asides. Although generally
supportive of the proposed rules, AGC made the following points:
Contracting officers should not be provided with
authority to create discrete categories within a contract and to assign
individualized North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes to
In the mentor/protégé context, size
recertification requirements should not extend to large business mentors;
Waiver of the limitations on subcontracting
requirement under 8(a) contracts is currently limited to 8(a) Business
Development Participants. This waiver should be extended to all programs to
provide the same flexibility and additional business development opportunities
to all small business concerns; and
The inclusion of a good faith evaluation for a small
business when a contracting officer documents whether that business met or did
not meet the applicable limitation on subcontracting.
To view AGC’s comments, click here.
For more information, please contact Jimmy
Christianson at 703-837-5325 or email@example.com.
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USACE Revises Safety Manual Revision Schedule for More Contractor Comments
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently revised
the schedule for its safety manual revision—called EM 385-1-1, 2008—to allow
for more time for comments from industry stakeholders. AGC will work to provide
opportunities for contractors to meet via conference call and/or face-to-face
with the USACE on this revision at given points throughout the process. To make
a comments on the first draft, click here.
The revised schedule is as follows:
- SEPTEMBER 1, 2012: First Draft Comments due to
- NOVEMBER 5, 2012: Draft #2 published on internet
- JANUARY 11, 2013: Draft #2 comments due to
USACE-SO (Any unresolved and/or outstanding issues will be worked on with
appropriate stakeholders at this point for resolution.);
- MARCH 4, 2013: Final Draft published on
- MAY 1, 2013: Final Draft comments due to
USACE-SO (Comments addressed at this point should not be major issues.);
- JUNE 1, 2013: Prepare for edit, publish, print;
- SEPTEMBER 1, 2013: Estimated print.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at
703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or contact Kevin Cannon at 703-837-5410 or email@example.com.
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Register and Save Now for the 16th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
October 24-26, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.
Jointly sponsored by AGC and the
Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management
Conference offers programs and workshops
designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction
Register by Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, for special “Early Bird”
discounts. Additional discounts are available for subsequent
registrations from the same firm. Register now and save up to $210 – or
25 percent – off the standard registration fee.
The three-day conference features 36 interactive sessions
covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications.
Participants may earn up to 19 continuing professional education (CPE)
credits. This year’s sessions include:
- Cloud Computing
- Risk Management
- Construction Taxes
- IT Strategic Planning
- Construction Market Trends
- Financial Accounting Standards
- Business Real Estate Management
- Strategies for Economic Conditions
- Change Order and Claims Management
Owners, chief financial officers, controllers, treasurers,
certified public accountants, auditors, consultants, bankers, sureties, and
others interested in the construction financial management will greatly benefit
from this conference.
For more information, and to register online, visit www.agc.org/AGC_CFMA.
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