Senate Passes Partial Tax Package
Yesterday, the Senate voted 51 – 48 in favor of extending the Bush
tax cuts on all but the highest two rates. All but two Democrats (Webb of
Virginia and Lieberman of Connecticut – who are both retiring at the end of the
year) voted for the package and it attracted no Republican votes. The package
did not address the estate tax – which increases from 35 to 55 percent at the
end of this year – the 50-plus tax provisions that expired at the end of last
year, the annual Alternative Minimum Tax patch, or the expiration of the
payroll tax holiday. The House is scheduled to take up a bill next week,
and will signal their support for extending all the Bush tax cuts, setting the
stage for comprehensive tax reform next year. The message to the voters
is this: don’t expect a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff before Election Day.
America and our coalition partners have urged Congress to avoid the negative
fiscal impact of going over the fiscal cliff and instead extend all expired and
expiring tax cuts for one year to give Congress a chance to address
comprehensive tax reform after the election.
information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House Leadership Delays Consideration of Critical Flood Control Dam Funding
House Republican leadership continues to delay consideration
of a farm bill, which includes $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.
The House Agriculture Committee approved the legislation for
floor consideration on July 12. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
recently said the farm bill will be "done before we're out of the year,"
but noted that House members know very little about the bill's contents,
raising concerns that it would not pass. Bringing the farm bill to the floor
would put congressional members on both sides of the aisle in a difficult
pre-election voting situation. Fiscal conservatives from rural districts would
find themselves in a position of having to vote against federal subsidies for
farmers and Democrats would have to vote for cuts to the federal food stamp
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. In
addition to these watershed protecting measures, the House version also cuts
grants to the Rural Utilities Service’s Rural Water and Wastewater Facility
Grants from $30 million annually to $15 million annually.
The Senate approved a farm bill in June that includes the
same $85 million authorization level, but not additional funds for the Civilian
Conservation Corps. The Rural Utilities Service Grants are held at $30 million
annually. AGC continues to strongly advocate for sorely needed investment in
our nation’s aging infrastructure, including its dams and water/wastewater
For more information, please contact Jimmy
Christianson at 703-837-5310 or email@example.com.
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Looming Budget Cuts Could Impact Federal Acquisition Workforce
The federal government could lose approximately 270,000
employees, or about 13 percent of the federal workforce, if automatic budget
cuts—called sequestration—occur, according to a recent industry
group report. Because federal contract officers’ positions are not
protected from those cuts, the possibility of agency hiring freezes and layoffs
of such essential staff is a distinct possibility. If this happens, agencies
could see increased litigation and cost overruns and contractors could see more
bundled federal contracts.
To avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt obligations and
raise the debt ceiling, Congress enacted the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).
That law provides for a sequestration process spending cuts of $1.2
trillion—half from defense and half non-defense spending—beginning in 2013.
These across-the-board cuts could have been averted under the law, had the
bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—the “super committee”
consisting of 12 members of Congress—agreed on more calculated cuts. However, the
super committee failed in its efforts and Congress has yet to present
a legislative solution.
According to Office of Management and Budget, spending on
all federal contracts more than doubled between 2000 and 2008 – reaching over
$500 billion in 2008. However, in that same time period, the number of
contracting officers increased only about 10 percent to nearly 30,000, the
Office of Personnel Management reports. Moreover, increased federal oversight
and new contracting regulation each year lead to further strain on the existing
contract officer workforce.
An inadequate contracting officer workforce could lead to
more litigation and insufficient contract planning and oversight, likely
amounting to cost overruns on projects. Furthermore, as the most
knowledgeable federal employees retire, a smaller, less experienced workforce
may also face problems defining requirements clearly and overseeing contract
administration. Some agencies already cite inadequate staffing as a
reason for bundling contracts. Further personnel cuts could lead to agencies
bundling even more contracts, thereby inhibiting full and open competition, for
which AGC consistently advocates.
information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FHWA Releases Second Round of Every Day Counts Initiative
In a conference call with state Departments of
Transportation today, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez announced the
15 priorities that will be pursued by FHWA as round two of its Every Day Counts
Initiative (EDC). Seven of these priorities
are continuations from the original EDC initiative, which was started two years
ago. The core focus of EDC is shortening project delivery. Therefore, all of
the initiatives –with the exception of the two safety initiatives – have time
saving as a significant benefit.
The new initiatives are clustered into four broad
categories according to the primary benefits anticipated when implemented. The four categories are project delivery,
safety, environment, and mobility. For more information about these categories
and the new EDC initiative, please click here.
FHWA announced that it will be holding a series of
eight EDC summits this fall and will encourage participation by construction
industry groups. The fall summits will emphasize the project delivery
initiatives. FHWA reported that its emphasis on the use of Design-Build has
resulted in 27 states now using this contracting method and 19 states have now
used Construction Manager General Contractor (CMGC). These fall summits will
also emphasize the new project acceleration provisions in the new MAP-21
transportation authorization legislation. AGC members and chapters took part in
the EDC summits two years ago and will participate in these new summits as
For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or email@example.com.
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Registration is Now OPEN for the Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
2012 Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference is scheduled for Nov.
1-3, 2012, at the Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, Calif.
conference will focus on new technologies, the elections and their impact on
the construction industry, Congress and its impact on utility and
transportation funding, and environmental and other regulatory developments.
For more information and to register for the conference, please
For more information
please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or email@example.com.
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Register 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 16th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management
Conference, held Oct. 24-26, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev., offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial
professionals in the construction industry.
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
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
- 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
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
more information, and to register online, visit www.agc.org/AGC_CFMA.
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AGC Welcomes a New PAC Director
David Ashinoff is AGC’s new Director of PAC and Advocacy,
where he works on political fundraising and grassroots advocacy. His
efforts will focus on growing the federal PAC, encouraging member activism and
helping the Association to maximize its political influence in Washington, D.C.,
and around the country. Prior to joining AGC, Ashinoff worked at the Associated
Builders & Contractors (ABC), managing ABC PAC and the Free Enterprise
Alliance (issue advocacy fund), and also at the Republican Governors
Association. David graduated from the College of William & Mary with
a degree in Government.
For questions about the AGC PAC or to welcome David to AGC, please
contact him at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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