Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 16, 2012
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On the Inside
SMALL BUSINESS
AGC Urges Senate to Consider Small Business Contracting Reforms
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
USACE Issues Directive on One-Step Design-Build Procurement
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
President to Expedite Major Port Projects, Announces Government-Led Task Force for Infrastructure Strategy
2012 ELECTIONS
Romney Chooses a Running Mate
Primary Results from Connecticut, Florida and Wisconsin
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SMALL BUSINESS
AGC Urges Senate to Consider Small Business Contracting Reforms
 

On August 14, AGC urged members of the Senate Armed Services and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees to include small business contracting reforms as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2013. In its letter, AGC specifically highlighted two such reforms: (1) counting small business participation at lower tiers towards small business procurement goals; and (2) addressing the definition of a “bundled contract” to include contracts for construction services, which the House included in its version of NDAA passed earlier this year.

Small business contracting reforms are germane to and should be included in NDAA. The NDAA provides essential funding authorization and policy for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). DOD accounts for approximately 70 percent of federal procurement spending per year. Counting small businesses at lower tiers towards the small business procurement goals would allow DOD to understand the full extent of small business procurement participation and, in turn, address procurement areas where small businesses are underrepresented. Additionally, the inclusion of the term “construction services” as part of the definition of “bundled contract” would force DOD to simply justify its decision to not provide smaller contract awards.

AGC will continue to strongly advocate for these small business contracting reforms on Capitol Hill.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
USACE Issues Directive on One-Step Design-Build Procurement
 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Headquarters recently issued a directive noting limitations on the use of one-step selection procedures for design-build projects. AGC has objected to the use of the one-step process because of, as USACE notes, “the high cost of proposal preparation and the limited likelihood of success when competing with dozens of offerors.” Additionally, over the years, AGC noted that the one-step process has been used for projects not authorized by statute, which USCAE recognizes.

The directive clearly states that one-step selection procedures may only be used when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The planned contract is for an authorized military construction project. Typically this is a military construction (MILCON) funded project, minor MILCON funded project, or Army operations and maintenance minor new construction project less than $750,000.
  • The offerors are not required to submit design products as part of their technical proposal.
  • Approval to use a one-step selection procedure shall be obtained from USACE Headquarters’ Chief of Construction.

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

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
President to Expedite Major Port Projects, Announces Government-Led Task Force for Infrastructure Strategy
 

The Obama Administration recently announced that seven nationally and regionally significant infrastructure projects will be expedited to help modernize and expand five major U.S. ports, including the Port of Jacksonville, the Port of Miami, the Port of Savannah, the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the Port of Charleston.

This action is part of the administration’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative embodied in an Executive Order (EO) issued in March. That EO charged the Office of Management and Budget with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective. These are the first seven of an initial 43 projects that will be expedited by the EO. For more information on these seven projects, click here.

The administration also announced a  task force consisting of officials from various federal agencies and the White House to develop an infrastructure investment strategy for coastal ports, inland waterways and other freight carrying modes. Notably, the task force does not include any construction industry representatives. For more information on this task force, click here.

AGC consistently advocates for streamlining the project review process and including the construction industry’s voice in discussions concerning the future of America’s transportation system.

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

2012 ELECTIONS
Romney Chooses a Running Mate
 

On Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va., with the USS Wisconsin as a backdrop, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) ended weeks of speculation on who he would select as his running mate.  Over a four-month vetting process, Romney’s team narrowed twenty candidates to a group of three finalists, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). 

After an in-person meeting on Aug. 5, Romney offered Ryan the position and he accepted.  Ryan is only the fifth person since 1900 to be selected as a presidential running mate from the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Ryan, at 28 years old, was elected to represent Wisconsin’s first congressional district in 1998, making him the youngest member of the freshmen class.  Interestingly, he has since been re-elected six times with an average of 66 percent of the vote in what is considered a fairly moderate district.  Though President George W. Bush (R-Texas) carried the district in his two elections, voters selected Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Mass.), Presidents Bill Clinton (D-Ark.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in others. 

During his congressional tenure, Ryan continually impresses colleagues and shows a true knack for articulating complex budget jargon in a way that it is easily understood.  His congressional efforts and committee work focus on finding solutions that decrease federal spending, tackle the country’s crippling debt and reform entitlements to ensure their longevity. 

Romney’s choice has certainly helped to unify apprehensive Republicans and conservative activists alike.  Campaign rally attendance has swelled into the thousands and fundraising has seen a dramatic up-tick.  In the 72 hours following the announcement, the campaign stated it had raised $7.4 million online with over 101,000 contributions.

There is no doubt the president’s job performance will be on voters’ minds when they make their decisions on Nov. 6, but with the selection of Ryan, we may now see a debate of credible ideas worthy of a presidential election.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

Primary Results from Connecticut, Florida and Wisconsin
 

Connecticut

The two candidates expected to claim their party’s nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat created by the retirement of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) did so with ease. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT05) won his primary with 67.5% over former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D), while Linda McMahon (R) bested former Congressman Chris Shays (R) by receiving 72.7% of the vote. McMahon’s background and involvement with the WWE will attract attention to this race. Unless something turns this race up-side-down, it is all but likely Murphy will succeed Lieberman in the Senate. AGC PAC has not taken a position in this race.

Florida

Florida is one of the “Big Three” states, along with Ohio and Virginia. All three are must-win states for Gov. Mitt Romney to win the White House and all three states have competitive Senate races where Republican victories would take a seat from Democrat control. While the Primary Election was settled quickly, the General Election will be much more difficult for incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in his hopes to win a third term. If challenger Rep. Connie Mack (R) wins, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who first won election in 2010, will become the most senior Florida Senator.

The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of national July polls shows a difference of 0.2 percent in favor of Rep. Mack over Sen. Nelson. If either President Barack Obama or Romney can demonstrate obvious momentum in the state polls, expect to see the respective Senate candidate move ahead as well. AGC PAC is currently evaluating the race; it has not contributed to either candidate.

In a primary closely watched by transportation interests, Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) easily beat back a challenge from freshman legislator Sandy Adams (R-FL). Representative Adams had tried to discredit Mica’s conservative credentials because he oversaw the passage of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st century (MAP-21).  

The upset of the night occurred in Florida’s Third District where veterinarian Ted Yoho (R) surprised nearly everyone by defeating 12-term incumbent Rep. Cliff Stearns (R) narrowly in a four-way primary by just 829 votes (34.4 percent to 33.1 percent). AGC PAC did not participate in this primary election.

Wisconsin

The marquee race from Tuesday’s primaries was the contest to win the Republican nomination for Senate in Wisconsin between Tommy Thompson (R) and Eric Hovde (R). Victory went to Tommy Thompson, who is a former four-term Governor, state legislator, Cabinet member and unsuccessful candidate for president. His long political career stretches back to when he won a seat to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966. By contrast, businessman Eric Hovde, born in 1964, was making his first run at political office. Former Congressman Mark Neumann (R) and Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald (R) were also vying for the nomination.

Thompson’s victory speech demonstrated the energy he will need going forward in order to beat seven-term Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in the November General Election. Baldwin will draw upon strong support from liberal organizations across the country. Baldwin ran unopposed in her primary. Most polls indicate a slight advantage for Thompson to win this open seat, which was created when Sen. Herb Kohl (D) announced his retirement. A Democrat hold here would help the Democrats keep a Senate majority, while a Thompson win could give Republicans a solid chance to have an outright majority.  AGC PAC has contributed to the Thompson campaign.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

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