Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 30, 2013
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On the Inside
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Strongly Opposes Subcontractor Bid Listing Legislation
TAX
ACTION NEEDED: Urge Your Representative to Sign Letter Protecting Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds
SAFETY
OSHA Plans to Re-Open the Crane Rule to Review Crane Certification Requirements
CONGRESS
Bachmann Announces Retirement
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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Strongly Opposes Subcontractor Bid Listing Legislation
TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Representative to Oppose Bid Listing Legislation
 

Rep. Carolyn Maloney recently introduced the Construction Quality Assurance Act of 2013, H.R. 1942, which would mandate general contractors’ bid listing of subcontractors for federal projects. Specifically, if enacted, H.R. 1942 would require general contractors who bid directly with federal construction agencies on projects over $1 million to list each subcontractor that will perform over $100,000 of work on their bids. AGC urges members to TAKE ACTION and urge your Representative to oppose H.R. 1942.

Among other things, mandatory bid listing undermines the government’s attempts to streamline procurement and deliver essential projects in a timely and cost efficient fashion. Such a mandate would cause delays in project delivery by increasing opportunities for bid protests at a time when bid protests are reaching record highs and administratively burdening chronically understaffed federal agency procurement personnel during an era of hiring and pay freezes, furloughs and retirements.  Such delays would increase costs as a result of time lost, legal expenses, procurement personnel attention, and rising material and labor costs. In addition, mandatory bid listing would severely reduce a general contractor’s flexibility for efficiently bidding a project.

Again, AGC strong urges its members to take action and contact their Representatives to oppose H.R. 1942.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org.
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TAX
ACTION NEEDED: Urge Your Representative to Sign Letter Protecting Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds
 

A letter is being circulated among members of the House by Reps. Ruppersberger (R-Md.) and Hultgren (R-Ill.) that expresses concern over proposals to tax or partially tax municipal bond interest. The letter requests that leadership not pursue these policy proposals. AGC members are asked to write to their member of Congress asking them to sign on and protect this important infrastructure finance tool.

Under the federal tax code, investors do not pay federal income tax on interest earned from most bonds issued by state and local governments. This tax exemption allows state and local governments to pay a lower interest rate on their borrowing than they would if their interest payments were taxable to investors. In the FY 2014 Budget, President Obama proposed partially taxing the interest income from municipal bonds.  If this proposal had been in effect during the last decade, it is estimated that this would have cost states and localities an additional $173 billion in interest expense for infrastructure projects financed over the past ten-year period.

A recent report by the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, and U.S. Conference of Mayors concludes that tax-exempt municipal bonds are the most important tool in the U.S. for financing investment in schools, roads, water and sewer systems, airports, bridges and other vital infrastructure. State and local governments financed more than $1.65 trillion of infrastructure investment over the last decade (2003–2012) through the tax-exempt bond market. In 2012 alone, more than 6,600 tax-exempt municipal bond issuances financed over $179 billion worth of infrastructure projects. In typical market conditions, the tax exemption can save states and localities up to two percentage points on their borrowing rates. In addition to the additional cost of $173 billion from the Obama proposal, if the proposals for a complete removal of the tax-exempt status had been in place during the nine-year period, it is estimated that the $1.65 trillion of state and local infrastructure investment would have cost governments an additional $495 billion of interest expense.

Ask your member of Congress to preserve the tax-exempt status for municipal bonds.

For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org
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SAFETY
OSHA Plans to Re-Open the Crane Rule to Review Crane Certification Requirements
Issue Discussed Last Week at OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health Meeting
 

On May 22, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced plans to extend the compliance date for its crane operator certification requirement to Nov. 10, 2017, in order to re-open the record on operator certification.

OSHA’s announcement states that the additional three years would provide time to partially re-open the crane rule to address industry concerns in regards to the agency’s position on certifying by “type and capacity” and to further examine whether certification is equivalent to qualification.

Members of the Cranes and Derricks Advisory Committee (C-DAC), which was established by OSHA to create the new crane standard, have also repeatedly stated that it was not their intent to require operators to be certified by capacity in the way OSHA is now interpreting it.

During the most recent meeting of the OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) held May 23-24, 2013, this specific issue was discussed at length by the committee.  In its consideration of OSHA’s request for its proposal, ACCSH made an alternate recommendation that would replace the extended deadline of Nov. 10, 2017, with a request that the crane operator certification requirements be suspended until OSHA has completed its rulemaking on operator certification and qualification. ACCSH also recommended that OSHA continue to require employers to follow the existing phase-in (1926.1427(k)) criteria in the interim.  OSHA plans to announce their final decision in the coming weeks.

AGC will continue to monitor and update members on the status of the initial OSHA proposal, as well as that of the recommendation put forth by ACCSH. 

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org.
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CONGRESS
Bachmann Announces Retirement
 

Former presidential candidate and four-term U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.-6) announced via video that she will not seek re-election next year.  Drawing a parallel between the eight-year term limit placed upon the office of President, Bachmann said that such amount of time was appropriate for a House member to serve, as well.

Last week, a Public Policy Polling survey showed her trailing her 2012 opponent, businessman Jim Graves, who has already announced his intent to run again, by a two-point 45-47% margin.  Though saying said she is confident of her re-election next year – despite scoring only 50.5% against Graves in '12 and with no apparent concern over the FEC investigation of her presidential campaign accounts – the Congresswoman believes the time is right for her to leave the House.

Minnesota's 6th District is the safest Republican seat in the state (Mitt Romney defeated President Obama here 56.5-41.5%), so the new GOP nominee will be considered the favorite to defeat Graves, particularly in a lower turnout mid-term election.  Ms. Bachmann becomes the 14th House member to either announce his or her retirement or resignation from the House since the last election.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org.
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