AGC Comments on Senate Immigration Negotiations
In light of
recent press reports – some conflicting and premature – on a bipartisan “deal”
on immigration reform from the Senate “Gang of Eight,” AGC joined with other
construction industry groups to comment on the industry’s view of the negotiations
thus far. The eight senators – Schumer (D-N.Y.), McCain (R-Ariz.), Durbin
(D-Ill.), Graham (R-S.C.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Rubio (R-Fla.), Bennet (D-Colo.),
and Flake (R-Ariz.) – continue to work
on many elements of immigration reform, with the bulk of the discussions and
the source of much consternation, so far, is centered on a future temporary
worker visa program. Other important parts of immigration reform that AGC continues
to lobby on include the employment eligibility verification provisions, the legalization
provisions, and the conversion to permanent residence provisions from the temporary
worker program. These areas still need to be agreed upon by both the Gang of Eight
and the committee before any reform bill can be put to a vote on the Senate
floor. Thus, the reports of a “done deal” are extremely premature.
temporary guest worker program is the closest to completion, the construction
groups commented on the current status of that component. The principles that
have been agreed to by the Gang of Eight leave the construction industry as the
only industry severely limited from making use of the planned temporary worker
visa program. The construction industry would have its own program within the
system with different available occupations, triggers and limits on visas
compared to all other industries. The building trades unions have tried to use
their influence with certain Senators to significantly limit the opportunity
for construction firms to utilize a guest worker program. They initially tried
to block any visas for construction occupations, but such efforts to completely
exclude construction from the program have been rejected.
number of visas for construction occupations would be severely restricted,
limited to just the lowest skilled occupations. AGC is concerned that the
attractiveness of work in the construction industry for many immigrants will be
severely limited, even in the strongest of economic cycles. AGC is also worried
that the new government bureau created by this legislation could restrict the
construction industry use of the program even further. AGC believes the
construction industry should not be singled out for these kinds of restrictions,
which is why these six national trade associations – representing all aspects
of the commercial and residential construction industries – released a statement Wednesday, April 3, highlighting the
fact that Senate negotiators are in the process of repeating the same mistakes
of previous immigration reform attempts. While this is only one item in a
multi-faceted comprehensive reform proposal, it is an extremely important issue
for our industry. AGC hopes to be able to work with the Senate on a workable
future temporary worker visa program along with the other comprehensive
immigration priorities for the construction industry, penalties for violations,
path to legal status, preemption of state and local laws and employee
Please visit AGC’s
Legislative Action Center to send a letter to your Senators on opposing any effort to
restrict construction from the temporary guest worker visa program.
For more information,
please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Top
President Unveils Infrastructure Plan
On Friday, March 29, President Obama highlighted his
proposals to create jobs through investing in infrastructure. The plan – which will be laid out
further in the president’s budget – is a combination of proposals laid out in
the State of the Union and a new plan to attract private infrastructure
The first part of the plan once again calls for a $50
billion front-loaded transportation infrastructure investment, with $40 billion
directed towards reducing the backlog on deferred maintenance on highways,
bridges, transit systems, and airports. Similar
to his State of the Union address, the president refers to this as his
“Fix-it-First” Policy and does not offer any solid suggestion as to how to pay
for such a plan. The second part of the
plan is the creation of a “Rebuild America Partnership”
intended to enhance the role of private capital in U.S. infrastructure. This new partnership includes many policies
supported by AGC, including eliminating the volume cap on Private Activity
Bonds (PABs) for water infrastructure and increasing the national limitation
for highway PABs. The president proposes
to create a new and permanent program known as America Fast Forward bonds
modeled after Build America Bonds. In
addition, the administration proposes that the third part of the plan would
continue to allow the administration to pick individual projects to cut the
federal review and permitting process, as opposed to moving forward in
implementing the streamlining provisions in the transportation authorization
AGC commends the president for recognizing the need for
increased investment in our nation’s infrastructure. However, the president’s
plan is silent on addressing the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund
and how to restore the approximately $4 billion in cuts to federal construction
programs as a result of sequestration.
AGC looks forward to working in a bipartisan manner to tackle
the funding problems facing our nation’s critical infrastructure.
For more information,
please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
Return to Top
AGCís 2013 Federal Contractors Conference is Less than a Month Away Ė Donít Miss Out!
Limited Space Available
The 2013 AGC Federal Contractors
Conference will be held April 23-25, 2013, at The Mayflower Hotel
in Washington, D.C. 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. Want to know what projects survived those battles? Which ones did
not? How will the procurement process adjust? More multiple award contracts?
At the 2013 AGC Federal Contractors Conference, attendees will hear the answers
to these questions and more directly from over 20 federal agencies. In
addition, congressional staffers will provide attendees with an inside look on
the re-authorization of the highway bill and water resources development act.
If you are engaged in any aspect of constructing,
designing, or planning a federal project and you are a general contractor,
specialty contractor, service/supplier, attorney or any other important
stakeholder already engaged in the Federal or Federally-assisted market, this
conference has a place for you. If you are interested in learning more about
Federal contracting opportunities and how to get started, begin your learning
experience here.For more information
or to register, please visit www.agc.org/fedcon.
Return to Top
Former Gov. Mark Sanford Continues His Political Comeback
scandal-ridden former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) first announced he was attempting a
political comeback by running in the current special congressional election
cycle, many voters and political observers scoffed at his chances of victory.
On Tuesday, Sanford overcame the critics and quite possibly the odds as he won
his Republican nomination with a rather impressive 57-43 percent victory over
former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic.
This sets up
what promises to be a competitive special general election campaign with
Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch – sister of Comedy Central comedian
Stephen Colbert – although, historically speaking, South Carolina's 1st Congressional
District should be safely Republican.
It is now
obvious that the international extra-marital affair that cost him his marriage
and tainted his time as Governor is not a killer issue for Sanford among
Republican voters. According to the previous Public Policy Polling survey
released just before the run-off, the ex-state chief executive's favorability
rating was projected at 55-40 percent positive to negative, almost exactly the
percentage breakdown of last night's run-off vote.
Now we turn
our attention to the special general election scheduled for May 7. Can Ms.
Busch take advantage of Sanford's poor image within the electorate as a whole?
Though he may be viewed more favorably by Republicans, among the overall electorate
he registers only 34-58 percent according to the same poll.
As in all
special elections, the turnout will determine the outcome. While 53,000+
Republicans participated in the primary, only 16,484 Democrats voted.
Obviously, the Democratic number will have to improve if Busch has any hope of
beating Sanford. Also, where do the disaffected Republicans, or those voting
against Sanford, go? Do they vote Busch, reluctantly back Sanford, or simply
stay home? It is this latter group that will likely write the final general
Policy Polling survey and one commissioned by the Busch campaign both projected
the Democrat to have a slight two-point pre-run-off advantage over Sanford.
Now, both parties will spend heavily to win this seat, much more than was
originally forecast. Mr. Sanford's nomination guarantees us a wildly
competitive special general election, making it difficult to predict exactly
how the race will ultimately unfold.
For more information, please
contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Top