Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org March 14, 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
TRANSPORTATION
MAP-21 Implementation Hearing
Senate Continuing Resolution Provides MAP-21 Funding Levels
TAX REFORM
House Ways and Means Committee Releases Discussion Draft on Small Business Tax Reform
Ways and Means Committee Creates Tax Reform Working Groups
BUDGET
House and Senate Budget Committees Move Forward
AGC PAC
AGC PAC Surpasses Fundraising Goal and Hosts Briefing at 2013 Convention
LABOR
House Holds Hearing on Guest Worker Programs
NLRB Recess Appointment Challenge Likely Headed to Supreme Court
Workforce Training Legislation Debated
SAFETY
2013 National Work Zone Awareness Survey
EVENTS
Donít Miss the 2013 Federal Contractors Conference Early Bird Discount
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
TRANSPORTATION
MAP-21 Implementation Hearing
 

Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee held a hearing on the implementation of the transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).  At the hearing, Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and members of the subcommittee heard from Department of Transportation (DOT) modal administrators as to the progress being made in implementing programmatic reform and meeting deadlines mandated in MAP-21.  The subcommittee heard from Victor Mendez of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Peter Rogoff of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Anne Ferro of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The administrators provided general updates of where their respective agencies were in implementing the various provisions of MAP-21.  Of particular interest to AGC and its members are the provisions related to project delivery/environmental streamlining, incorporation of performance measures into highway and transit programs, and program consolidation and elimination.  There was not a tremendous amount of details given by the administrators on where they were in the process of implementing MAP-21. 

Administrator Mendez talked extensively in regards to FHWA’s moving forward on a National Freight Policy by creating a National Freight Advisory Council with the goal of establishing a National Freight Network.  He also generally discussed FHWA moving forward on increasing project delivery.  Administrator Rogoff warned of fewer FTA new starts/small starts commencing as a result of sequestration.  Much of the discussion was about funding. Several members of the Committee expressed their concern with the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.  When asked by Chairman Petri if the Administration had ideas on how to address the issues, Administrator Rogoff cited President Obama’s proposal to use savings from the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Administrator Mendez encouraged greater participation from the private sector and cited the success of the TIFIA loan program. 

AGC will be closely following the implementation of MAP-21 to ensure the expected reforms are carried out as intended.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Advertisement
Senate Continuing Resolution Provides MAP-21 Funding Levels
 

This week, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) unveiled their FY 2013 appropriations bill, H.R. 933 – the Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013.  The bill includes five individual appropriations bills for spending in the following agencies: Defense, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Commerce/Justice/State. The bill is currently being debated on the Senate floor.   Both the House and Senate versions of H.R. 933 leave the $85 billion March 1 budget sequester in place, but by changing the account-level priorities within each agency in those two (House) or five (Senate) bills, they can lessen some of the more disruptive effects of the sequester. For the other bills not included in either version of the package, H.R. 933 simply extends the existing continuing resolution (CR) (Public Law 112-175) through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2013, in both versions.  Unfortunately, the prohibition on new starts for federal construction projects continues for those agencies not included in the five individual appropriations bills.

AGC scored a huge victory with the Senate bill providing increased levels of funding for Highway Trust Fund programs compared to what was included in the current CR and the recently passed House bill.  AGC and our transportation stakeholders have been very active in lobbying and sending letters securing the higher funding levels that were authorized and paid for in MAP-21.  AGC urges all members to visit the Legislative Action Center and contact their Senators to urge their support for H.R. 933, which may be voted on as early as tomorrow, March 14. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TAX REFORM
House Ways and Means Committee Releases Discussion Draft on Small Business Tax Reform
 

On March 12, the House Ways and Means Committee released a discussion draft on small business tax reform. The package is designed to simplify the tax code by identifying ways to make compliance easier for small business entities.  This is the third topic covered by the committee in discussion drafts; the first was territorial treatment of overseas income, while the second dealt with the taxation of financial instruments.  This package hits closer to AGC members’ basic concerns.  The package was released Tuesday and the Committee is currently accepting comments.

You can view the summary here, as well as a basic fact sheet. In addition, there is a technical explanation  (70 pages) and the actual legislative text (more than 130 pages), both of which were also released on Tuesday.

To share your comments or concerns, please contact Jeff Shoaf at shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Ways and Means Committee Creates Tax Reform Working Groups
 

 

The groups are led by one Republican Member serving as chair and one Democratic Member serving as vice chair. Each of the 11 groups will review current law in its designated issue area and then identify, research and compile feedback related to the topic of the working group. Each working group will be responsible for compiling feedback on its designated topic from: (1) stakeholders, (2) academics and think tanks, (3) practitioners, (4) the general public and (5) colleagues in the House of Representatives. Once the work of those groups has been completed, the Joint Committee on Taxation will prepare a report for the full Committee that describes current law in each issue area and summarizes the other information gathered by the Committee Members.

Announcing the formation of the groups, Chairman Camp stated, “I am pleased to be working collaboratively with Ranking Member Levin and all of our Committee Members as we continue our efforts to fix our broken tax code. Regardless of party or politics, everyone can agree that comprehensive tax reform should result in a simpler, fairer tax code for families and more jobs for American workers. In addition to Committee hearings, these working groups will be one more way for the Committee to gather the necessary information to produce the best possible legislation."

Ranking Member Levin added, "Tax reform must build on a full understanding of present provisions as a path to a simpler, fairer and adequate tax code. These working groups provide a framework to undertake in-depth fact-finding on a variety of important issues related to tax reform." 

The 11 working groups and their respective chair and vice chair are listed below (groups listed in alphabetical order).

Charitable/Exempt Organizations

David Reichert (R-Wash.)

John Lewis (D-Ga.)

Debt, Equity and Capital

Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)

Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)

Education and Family Benefits

Diane Black (R-Tenn.)

Danny Davis (D-Ill.)

Energy

Kevin Brady (R-Texas)

Mike Thompson (D-Calif.)

Financial Services

Adrian Smith (R-Neb.)

John Larson (D-Conn.)

Income and Tax Distribution

Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.)

Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.)

International

Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)

Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

Manufacturing

Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.)

Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.)

Pensions/Retirement

Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)

Ron Kind (D-Wis.)

Real Estate

Sam Johnson (R-Texas)

Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.)

Small Business/Pass Throughs


Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)


Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.)


It is important that the House is undertaking a bipartisan effort on comprehensive tax reform.  It recognizes that any bill produced by the House will have to also be considered by the Senate and Signed by the President.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

Add a CommentAdd a Comment
View CommentsView Comments ()
BUDGET
House and Senate Budget Committees Move Forward
 

This week, House Republicans and Senate Democrats began the process of moving their respective fiscal year (FY) 2014 budgets.  In the House, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan passed his budget out of committee late Wednesday night on a party-line 22 to 17 vote. All committee Republicans voted for the FY 2014 plan, which now heads to the full House for floor consideration next week.

The Ryan budget provides an ambitious plan to balance the federal budget and have a $7 billion surplus in 10 years.  To get there, the budget cuts $5.7 trillion – compared to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline – repeals ObamaCare, and lowers the top tax rate to 25 percent.  Unfortunately, the budget does not include a “reserve fund” that would allow transportation spending to rise above what the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) brings in each year if lawmakers agree to additional funding. A similar provision was in the budget last year.  In addition, the budget also states that general fund transfers into the HTF be offset just as they were in MAP-21.  To read the Ryan budget, please click here.

In the Senate, Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is expected to pass the Democrats’ budget out of her committee later this evening by a party-line vote.  The Senate budget – the first in 4 years -takes a much different tact than the House.  It says nothing about balancing the budget; instead, it would impose tax increases by eliminating certain deductions.  The Senate budget also calls for a $100 billion stimulus for infrastructure development and job training, as well as the creation of an infrastructure bank.  The Senate Budget Committee plan can be found here.

The House and Senate budget will be considered on the respective floors next week, where they will likely pass on party-line votes.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC PAC
AGC PAC Surpasses Fundraising Goal and Hosts Briefing at 2013 Convention
 

2013 fundraising efforts for AGC PAC kicked into high gear at AGC’s 94th Annual Convention held last week in Palm Springs when AGC PAC surpassed its projected goal of $200,000.  The final tally showed contributions from 160 individuals totaling more than $233,000.  Equally impressive was the fact that more than 75 percent of the contributors gave at the 535 Club level ($1,500 or more). 

AGC PAC also hosted its on-site Contributions Subcommittee meeting – attendees were briefed on the impact of the 2012 elections on the current legislative/political landscape and reviewed major races in the 2013-2014 election cycle, as well as proposed changes to AGC PAC.  After introductory remarks by the AGC PAC co-chairs Ted Aadland and Dan Fordice, PAC Director David Ashinoff reviewed the 2011-2012 Election Cycle Report and discussed noteworthy changes to AGC PAC affecting members and chapters.  One specific change worth highlighting is the recruitment of a representative at every chapter, charged with championing the goals of AGC PAC.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact David Ashinoff at ashinoffd@agc.org or (202) 547-5013.

Lastly, Senior Executive Director of Government Affairs Jeff Shoaf shared the association’s top policy priorities, as well as his thoughts on likely accomplishments in the 113th Congress. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
LABOR
House Holds Hearing on Guest Worker Programs
 

Today, the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on "Examining the Role of Lower-Skilled Guest Worker Programs in Today's Economy". The hearing is the latest in a series by the House to review different components of immigration reform. Today’s hearing highlighted the current visa programs and the necessary components for a new, more successful program in future legislation. Due to the unique nature of the construction industry, AGC has been working with other construction groups to ensure the discussion regarding a future lower-skilled visa program would work for the industry. The components of a new program must include:

  • An annual visa cap that fluctuates based on a demand-driven system that reflects the real economic needs of the nation;
  • An opportunity for employers to petition for an approved slot that allows them to hire visa-holding foreign workers, and replace those workers if/when they move onto another approved job slot;
  • A time period for job slot approvals, and approved visas, that reflects a long enough time period to ensure that the training investment made by employers is not lost;
  • A program that requires employers to treat these legal foreign workers in the same manner as U.S. workers—with all of the same benefits, workforce protections and wage rates as similarly-situated workers at the same location; and
  • A dual-intent process that allows some foreign workers who have demonstrated a commitment to their jobs and their communities to choose to petition for a change of status to a permanent legal status in the United States, while also incentivizing most foreign workers to return to their home country at the end of their visa period.

AGC will continue to work with Congress and stakeholders not just on a guest worker program but also larger, comprehensive reform. To read the letter AGC and other construction groups sent to Congress today, click here. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
NLRB Recess Appointment Challenge Likely Headed to Supreme Court
 

This week, the Obama administration stated it would petition the Supreme Court to review the recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision, Noel Canning v. NLRB, a key case (of several separate cases) challenging the validity of three “recess appointments” President Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012.   The D.C. court ruled that the appointments were “constitutionally invalid” because the Senate was actually not in recess when the appointments were made.  Accordingly, the five-member Board lacked a quorum when it decided the underlying legal issues affecting employer Noel Canning.   

Immediately after the Jan. 25 court decision, NLRB Chairman Marc Pearce responded to the ruling by issuing a statement asserting his belief that the appointments will ultimately be upheld and reporting that, in the meantime, the Board will continue to issue decisions.  President Obama followed shortly thereafter by re-nominating Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the NLRB; the third original recess appointee Terence Flynn resigned last year over an unrelated ethics inquiry.   The ongoing legal challenge will test President Obama’s executive power and a Supreme Court ruling could have significant implications, calling into question the validity of all decisions made by the Board in the past year, as well as the validity of the appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was made under the same circumstances as the Board appointments. 

AGC, with the help of AGC-supported Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, were instrumental in the D.C. Circuit decision and continue to evaluate the legal strategy moving forward.  In addition, legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House, H .R. 1120 – the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act – which would prohibit the Board from taking any action that requires a quorum until the Senate confirms members or the Supreme Court makes a decision on the constitutionality of the appointments.

If you have any questions, please contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Workforce Training Legislation Debated
 

The House continues to debate the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, H.R. 803, which will help reform the nation’s job training system by strengthening employer engagement in state and local workforce decisions, as well as giving states and localities more flexibility and better aligning Registered Apprenticeship programs with local workforce investment systems or workforce investment boards. AGC supports the legislation and floor vote is expected tomorrow. However, the bill faces an uphill battle after that.

To view more information on the legislation along with a letter of support from AGC, please click here. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
SAFETY
2013 National Work Zone Awareness Survey
 

AGC annually participates in National Work Zone Awareness Week to highlight the dangers motorists not obeying speed limits or not staying alert in highway construction work zones pose for construction workers. This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week will take place April 15-19, 2013, with the theme “Work Zone Safety: We’re All In This Together.” To get a better handle on the impact of vehicle crashes at AGC member work sites, we have prepared this survey and will release the results as part of the week’s events. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey before Monday, March 25. We appreciate your input.

If you have any questions, please contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
EVENTS
Donít Miss the 2013 Federal Contractors Conference Early Bird Discount
Register by March 15 & Save $100
 

With many of the federal budget battles scheduled before April, the dust will likely settle to allow federal agencies to plan for construction projects over the next year. Do you want to know what projects survived those battles? Which ones did not? Do you want to know how the procurement process will be adjusted? Will there be more multiple award contracts? At the 2013 AGC Federal Contractors Conference, attendees will hear the answers to these questions and many more directly from over 20 federal agencies.

Among others, participating agencies include:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers                                 
  • Naval Facilities Engineering Command
  • U.S. Air Force                                                              
  • General Services Administration
  • Office of Overseas Building Operations                 
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Energy                                               
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Federal Highways Administration                           
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Federal Transit Administration                                
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Federal Rail Road Administration                           
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons

Register by March 15 to save $100. To register, go to www.agc.org/fedcon. 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.