Democratic Platform Offers Mixed Messages on AGC Priorities
The Democrat platform was adopted this week at the
Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Overall, the platform fails to outline
specific Democratic plans or positions in what we consider to be key policy
areas. The platform does touch on
several issues relevant to AGC priorities including, tax, infrastructure,
immigration, labor and employment, regulations, and energy.
Here is a summary of AGC priorities mentioned in the
specifics except for tax-cuts for families who make less than $250,000 a year
and closing loopholes and deductions for the largest corporations and
highest-earning taxpayers. There was no
mention of estate tax, alternative minimum tax or any other taxes that expire
at the end of 2012. The platform does support
unspecific tax cuts for small businesses that make new investments, hire
workers or increase wages.
platform calls for an "immediate investment” for highways, transit, rail
and aviation. It also calls for the creation of a national infrastructure bank
with part of the savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. The platform wrongly gives
sole credit to President Obama and Congressional Democrats for the two years of
funding provided in MAP-21. The platform
is effusive about the reforms in the bill but it makes no mention of addressing
our long-term transportation funding needs. The platform also supports “sustainable
development” (passenger rail, bike paths, pedestrian paths, etc.). It has been
reported that the president or vice president will offer specific details on
transportation in their speeches at the Democratic Convention tonight.
Labor and Employment: The platform gives credit to the president
for his appointments to the National Relations Board and the National Mediation
Board. The platform says that the administration
will “continue its fight against the exploitive practice of employers fraudulently
misclassifying workers as independent contractors” and oppose “Right to Work”,
“paycheck protection”, and “Save our Secret Ballot” measures in Congress.
Immigration: The platform reiterates the president’s
position in support of comprehensive immigration reform that allows illegal
immigrants to get on a path towards citizenship.
platform rejects the argument that certain regulatory rules and protections
need to be rolled back for the economy to grow but does acknowledge rules
should be simpler and more flexible and regulations should be based on sound
platform adopts an all-of-the above energy position with an emphasis on cutting
“big oil” tax subsidies while expanding the clean energy sector.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill
at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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Administration Releases Important Health Care Law Guidance
Late last week, the Obama Administration released two pieces
of guidance that are important to employers. The Treasury Department released IRS Notice 2012-58, describing safe harbor methods that employers
may use to determine which employees are treated as full-time employees for the
purpose of the employer responsibility provisions, along with other issues.
Another document released by the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and
Human Services – CCIIO/Multi-Agency – is guidance to assist stakeholders with
implementation of the 90-day waiting period limitation for health care
Both notices will be in the Internal Revenue Bulletin
2012-41, dated Oct. 9, 2012. AGC is
evaluating the documents and will provide comments detailing the unique nature
of the construction industry and how these regulations may be applied to
employers in the industry.
For more information, please contact Jim
Young at (202) 547-0133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AGC Comments on EPA's Proposal to Tighten Fine Particulate Matter Standards
Association Also Weighs in on the Treatment of Air Data Influenced by Exceptional Events
AGC recently submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) on proposed revisions to its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
for fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
AGC also commented
on draft guidance to improve the Agency’s Exceptional Events Rule. That rule allows EPA to exclude certain
air-quality monitoring data when determining whether or not an area violates a
National Air Standards for Fine Particulates
EPA proposed revisions to its NAAQS for fine
particulate matter (PM2.5) on June 29, 2012. EPA has agreed to finalize the air quality
standards by Dec. 14, 2012, as part of a lawsuit settlement in the U.S. Court
of Appeals in the Washington, D.C. Circuit brought by environmental groups and
Within two years of setting a new NAAQS or revising
an existing standard, the Clean Air Act directs EPA to formally identify or
“designate” areas as “unclassifiable/attainment” (meeting the standard or no evidence
indicating a violation), “nonattainment” (not meeting the standard), or
“unclassifiable” (insufficient information to designate as attainment or
nonattainment, but likely to be violating).
A nonattainment designation may trigger restrictions on the
use/operation of construction equipment as well as federal sanctions, including
emissions caps limiting economic development and the loss of federal highway
Exceptional Events Rule
EPA recently released for public comments its draft guidance to improve the process for implementing the
Events Rule (EER). The EER allows EPA to exclude certain air-quality
monitoring data when determining whether or not an area violates a NAAQS. States face strict deadlines to make
attainment determinations that could hinge on whether or not data affected by
exceptional events are included or excluded. Failure by any state to comply
with federal air standards could jeopardize federal funding for transportation
projects in the state, among other harmful sanctions.
Under the EER, EPA may flag certain air monitoring readings
as “exceptional” and exclude data from nonattainment determinations if a local
air agency demonstrates that an exceptional event, such as a wildfire or dust
storm, caused an air quality violation. AGC chapters and members in arid
western states face significant air quality challenges brought on by chronic
wildfires, dust storms and high winds; they report that EPA has not
consistently applied its EER.
For a more detailed summary of AGC’s comments, click
For more information, contact Leah Pilconis,
Senior Environmental Advisor to AGC, at email@example.com.
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GSA Announces New Public Building Service Commissioner
On Sept. 4, General Services Administration (GSA)
Administrator Dan Tangherlini announced the selection of Dorothy
Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment,
to head the Public Building Service (PBS). PBS is charged with
negotiating leasing and development deals for many of the federal government’s
nonmilitary agencies, overseeing 374.6 million square feet of federal
In her previous position, Robyn oversaw the military’s
portfolio of about 29 million acres of property, 300,000 buildings and 2.2
billion square feet of building space around the world. She also headed the
Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. During her three years as
deputy undersecretary, Administrator Tangherlini noted that, “Dorothy has
gained valuable experience working with GSA to identify ways that this agency
and DOD can encourage greater innovation and cost efficiency from construction
firms and make federal buildings more energy efficient and sustainable.”
Tangherlini also noted the scrapping of the PBS board of directors, which
played a major role in strategic planning. He cited his desire to more clearly
establish Robyn’s authority and responsibility.
AGC and its members look forward to working with Dorothy
Robyn in her new role.
For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703)
837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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