Senate Democrats Propose Buffet Tax and Spending Cuts as an Alternative to Sequestration
Feb. 14, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unveiled his plan to
replace the March 1 implementation of $85 billion in indiscriminate,
across-the-board spending cuts—called sequestration—with an even balance of
spending cuts and tax revenues. The plan includes a 30 percent minimum tax rate
for personal income over $1 million, a change in the tax treatment of
employment opportunities outside the US, and a new tax on oil from tar sands
that will go into the oil spill liability trust fund (these provisions are
expected to raise about $5 billion this year and $55 billion over the next ten
years). It also redirects and delays the
planned sequester cuts by phasing in $27.5 billion in defense cuts over a six
year period starting in 2015. In
addition the plan will reduce farm subsidies by imposing a means test over a 10
Reid’s proposal faces opposition from House Republicans and even some Senate
Democrats. Last Congress, House Republicans passed a bill that would
have replaced the defense cuts in the sequester with all spending cuts,
specifically to the president's health care law and food stamp program, among
other things. House Republicans continue to consider the spending cut-only path
as the only alternative. Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats have called for
an alternative measure that includes a ratio of 80 percent in tax revenues to 20
percent in spending cuts to replace the sequester. At this point, a number of
members of Congress continue to say they expect sequester to happen and that no
deal will happen before March 1.
AGC recently updated its sequestration
report, detailing the possible impacts
of sequestration on the federal construction market. According to AGC's
analysis, sequestration could cut approximately $4 billion federal construction
investments in FY 2013 alone. As a result of the two month delay of sequestration
enacted by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (the "Fiscal Cliff
Deal"), $24 billion in overall federal budget cuts in FY 2013 were
averted, leading to the change in initial AGC estimates of over $6 billion in
potential cuts to federal construction spending.
AGC also previously held a free webinar for members on the possible impacts of the sequestration cuts,
including federal construction contracting agencies' possible changes in their
contracting behavior. AGC continues to strongly urge Congress and President
Obama to enact sensible debt reduction reforms and avert these indiscriminate
For more information, please
contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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President Reiterates Priorities in the State of the Union
The State of the Union speech is designed to set up administration goals,
identify legislative priorities, identify priorities for federal agencies and
provide rhetorical guidance for congress. This year’s speech expounded on the
president’s inaugural address, which talked about economic growth, equal pay,
climate change, immigration, same sex marriage and preserving the social safety
net. He also called for compromise, reasoned debate and accepting partial
victories. The State of the Union also
reiterated policy goals, such as helping the middle class, equal pay, climate change,
immigration and gun control. He was also address the impending sequester,
eliminating tax “loopholes”, helping manufacturing, adding job training in high
schools, and increasing the minimum wage.
President Obama also resurrected items from past speeches and budgets, including
the American Jobs Act, energy security, energy efficiency and a fix-it-first
plan for infrastructure. Even though
these infrastructure items are reiterations of past speeches, there are few
details regarding these proposals. There may be more information forthcoming in
the president’s budget, which is expected to be released in March.
In tone there was little new. While the president did talk about meeting
national challenges in a way that identifies what is best for the country, he
also threatened to act unilaterally on carbon emissions if Congress refused to pass
legislation. In short, other than the
minimum wage increase, there was little difference in the president’s proposals
or tone. It set no path for compromise
or long term collaboration. Unfortunately, this could forecast yet another
difficult legislative session and may also be a sign that we have already begun
the 2014 election cycle in earnest.
information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or email@example.com.
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TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Members of Congress to Join the Mississippi River Valley and Tributaries Caucus
Members of the House and Senate recently formed a caucus
in their respective bodies dedicated to addressing issues of importance to the
Mississippi River Valley and Tributaries region. Among those issues, the caucus
will seek to raise awareness of water resources issues, including the enactment
of a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill. Go to AGC’s
Legislative Action Center to urge your members of Congress to join the
caucus and support water resources and infrastructure projects.
With over 250 of the 535 members of the 113th Congress
elected in either 2010 or 2012, many Representatives and Senators were not in
office for the previous passage of a WRDA bill in 2007. This caucus and AGC
will work together to educate these new members about the important role the
construction industry plays in the Mississippi River Valley and tributaries
AGC thanked those Senators—Sens. Roy
Blunt (R-Mo.) and Tom Harkin (D- Iowa)—and Representatives—Reps.
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
and Cedric Richmond (D-La.)—for their leadership in forming the caucus.
Again, please go to www.agc.org/lac to urge your
Members of Congress to join the caucus and support water resources and
For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703)
837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House T&I Committee Holds Hearing on the Federal Government’s Role in Infrastructure
Yesterday, the House Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure held its first hearing of the 113th Congress
focusing on the importance of infrastructure to the U.S. economy and
examining the role played by the Federal Government in ensuring safe,
efficient, and reliable infrastructure.
Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.)
highlighted how the quality of the nation’s infrastructure affects the lives of
Americans in many ways on a daily basis, and how the Federal role in ensuring a
strong transportation network is firmly rooted in the first days of the nation.
The hearing highlighted the federal role in all modes of infrastructure,
but with a more specific focus on finding the revenue necessary for paying for
the next surface transportation reauthorization.
All three hearing witnesses -
Former Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell; President of the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, Tom Donahue; and Terry O'Sullivan General President of the Laborers
Union – expressed their support for a strong federal role in our nation's
infrastructure and urged the committee to move the legislation that addresses
our country's infrastructure needs.
With many new members of the
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, AGC is in the process of meeting
with those members and educating them on the need to pass legislation
authorizing the Water Resources Development Act, state revolving funds for safe
and clean drinking water, and finding the funding source necessary to
For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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Register Early for 2013 AGC Federal Contractors Conference & Save $100
April 23-25, 2013 | Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The AGC Federal Contractors Conference will be held April 23
- 25 at the Mayflower Hotel in
Washington, DC. Attendees will hear directly from a host of headquarters
representatives from a number of federal agencies about their upcoming
Army Corps of Engineers
Naval Facilities Engineering Command
Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment
of Veterans Affairs
In addition, for the first time, attendees will have a
chance to meet with representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE). With a
multi-billion dollar annual construction budget, DOE is one of the largest
federal government owners. DOE
representatives will discuss their construction program and how contractors can
successfully compete for and work on DPE projects. DOE will also address
traditional building construction projects available through the agency.
For more information and to register, please go
Register by March 15 to save $100!
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