Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org February 28, 2013
Spacer
AGC Home Page
Email our Editor
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe
Printer Friendly
AGC Political Toolkit
Advertisement
Take Action!
On the Inside
BUDGET
Sequestration Likely: What Construction Contractors Should Know
Republicans Close to End of the Year Funding Deal
LABOR
AGC Opposes USACE PLA Inquiry in Georgia
House Holds E-Verify Hearing
CONGRESS
Rep. Tom Latham Passes on Open Iowa Senate Seat
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
BUDGET
Sequestration Likely: What Construction Contractors Should Know
 

As of publication, neither Congress nor President Obama appear close to averting $85 billion in automatic and indiscriminate budget cuts—called sequestration—scheduled for tomorrow, March 1. Of those cuts, AGC estimates $4 billion in federal construction funding could be cut during the next seven months of fiscal year 2013. Assuming these cuts are implemented, what should construction contractors whose projects involve federal funds beware of?

Contractors who work directly with federal agencies will experience the greatest negative impact of the sequester.  With many federal agencies likely to institute civilian employee furloughs – which will include acquisition personnel – federal contractors should expect delays receiving permits and answers to procurement/ongoing construction questions and contract award information, among other things. Agencies, like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Naval Facilities Engineering Command, could decide to procure work through more Multiple Award Task Order Contracts and Multiple Award Construction Contracts because of the lack of acquisition personnel to handle smaller construction contracts. Although ongoing construction projects and awards already made may not be affected on a grand scale, some contracts could be terminated for convenience or de-scoped. Similarly, contractors may be asked to hold over their bids for 120 or more days.  Ultimately, direct federal contractors should expect fewer new federal construction project solicitations in the coming months.

Contractors who work for state and local governments—which receive some federal funding—could also see negative impacts, albeit not as severe. Again, with federal agency personnel furloughs expected, these contractors could also expect delays in receiving any federal permits and completion of federal environmental studies. Contractors who build transportation infrastructure should not see a dramatic decrease in new project solicitations. The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and Airport Improvement Program are exempt from the FY 2013 sequestration process, though there would be a slight reduction in last year’s $6.2 billion General Fund transfer to the HTF. Municipal and utility contractors who have a stake in the clean water and drinking water state revolving loan funds (SRF), however, should expect a decrease in new projects. AGC estimates about $135 million could be cut from the SRFs under sequestration.

AGC has consistently argued for the sequester to be delayed through FY 2013 in order to provide our industry a smaller level of certainty until a grand bargain can be reached – one that truly reforms and prioritizes discretionary spending programs and preserves entitlement programs for multiple generations without unfairly raising taxes. Please TAKE ACTION and inform your members of Congress about sequestration’s impact on your business and the construction industry.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Advertisement
Republicans Close to End of the Year Funding Deal
 

With the current short term continuing resolution (CR) expiring on March 27, 2013, House Republicans are in the process of finalizing a year-long CR that will keep the government funded through Sept. 30, 2013.  The current CR funded most federal government operations for the first six months of FY 2013 at similar levels to those provided in FY 2012.  The bill currently being drafted by House Republicans would effectively cap spending at around $974 billion compared to the $1.043 trillion cap in the current CR.  This reduction is due to the sequestration cuts scheduled to take place tomorrow.  The House may take up the legislation as early as next week.

AGC sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging Congressional leaders to lift the prohibition on new starts for federal construction projects and provide the authorized funding levels for federal highway and transit programs as authorized by MAP-21.   For more information visit AGC’s Legislation Action Center and contact your members of Congress.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
LABOR
AGC Opposes USACE PLA Inquiry in Georgia
 

This week, AGC sent a letter opposing the possible use of government-mandate project labor agreements (PLAs) posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Savannah District for upcoming work on large scale construction contracts (exceeding $25 million) within the Savannah District Design/Construction Boundaries.

AGC has sent over 65 letters to federal agencies opposing PLA mandates and bid preferences during the Obama Administration, most in response to agency announcements that a PLA mandate or preference was under consideration for a particular project or an anticipated set of projects in a particular area. Of those, only one PLA mandate has been issued to date. 

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process. More information on AGC’s PLA position can be found at www.agc.org/pla.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5425 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
House Holds E-Verify Hearing
 

On Feb. 27, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration held a hearing on “How E-Verify Works and How it Benefits American Employers and Workers.” The hearing is part of the chairman’s attempt to look at all parts of immigration reform by evaluating what works and what doesn’t before drafting comprehensive reform legislation – including an electronic employment verification system – is an important component. Currently, E-Verify is a voluntary federal system for most employers. It is only mandated for federal contractors with employees working on federal projects and new hires within the business. In recent years, certain states have enacted differing E-Verify laws that apply only to business in that specific state.

In preparation for the hearing, AGC – joined by several other construction industry stake holders – wrote a letter to Judiciary Committee members on the steps necessary to create an employment eligibility verification system that is workable for both employers and employees. The letter stated that new E-Verify legislation must be efficient, practical and provide for an accurate system that ensures ample protection from liability for employers who comply with the system in good faith. The system should be phased-in according to company size, and should not burden employers either financially or functionally. The letter added that the construction industry firmly believes that any employment verification system should hold all U.S. employers accountable for the work authorization status of their direct employees, and not create vicarious liability by holding employers accountable for the hiring decisions made by entities with which they have a contract, subcontract, or exchange.

AGC will continue to work with Congress and industry stakeholders on comprehensive immigration reform and a workable electronic verification system. To read the full letter to the Judiciary committee, click here.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
CONGRESS
Rep. Tom Latham Passes on Open Iowa Senate Seat
 

On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa-3) announced that he will not seek the open Iowa Senate seat next year. His decision is not particularly surprising. Iowa insiders had been indicating for more than a week that the ten-term Congressman was leaning against launching a statewide bid.

The Congressman was commonly seen as the best general election candidate the Republicans could field, but he faced a major obstacle in the GOP primary - Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa-4). Mr. King is backed with vigorous Tea Party support and enjoys strong grassroots presence for his Republican nomination campaign, which are major factors.

Polling results from late January and early February provided a quick glimpse into who Republicans were already favoring. According to a previously reported Public Policy Polling survey (2/1-3; 326 IA Republican primary voters), King was favored over Latham 50-27 percent in a hypothetical head-to-head square-off. If Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds was added to the candidate mix, King prevailed in that scenario

41-22-10 percent against Latham and Reynolds, respectively.

At this point in time, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa-1) is the only announced Senatorial candidate. His strongest Democratic opponent, U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Governor Tom Vilsack, has already pulled himself from consideration for the Senate campaign, thus giving the eastern Iowa Congressman what appears to be an unencumbered path to the Democratic nomination. Though Mr. King has yet to announce, predictions are that he soon will, particularly with his strongest two opponents – Rep. Latham and Gov. Terry Branstad – now out of the way.

While it is clear that Mr. Braley is considered to be about a ten-point favorite in the early going, Iowa is a highly competitive and quirky political state. Anything can – and often does – happen in the realm of Hawkeye State electoral politics.  Even knowing that Mr. Latham will not participate in the statewide campaign, the Iowa Senate race still remains as one of the top political attractions of the 2014 election cycle.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (703) 837-5325 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

AGC Townhouse, 53 D Street SE • Washington, DC 20003 • 202.547.1625 (phone) • 202.547.1635 (fax)• www.agc.org
AGC Home | About AGC | Advocacy | Industry Topics | Construction Markets | Programs & Events | Career Development | News & Media

To ensure delivery of AGC’s Construction Legislative Week in Review, please add 'communications@agc.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, visit our white-listing page for more details.

© Copyright The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. All Rights Reserved.