Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 10, 2013
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On the Inside
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Day 10 of Government Shutdown Ė Six Week Debt Limit Extension Possible
The Government Shutdown: How does it impact Your Company?
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Submits Testimony to House Panel on Federal Contract Bundling
AGC Submits Comments on Past Performance Evaluation Proposed Rule
AGC EVENTS
Last Chance to Attend the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Donít Miss the Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
CONGRESS
Most Senior Republican Retiring from the House
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GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Day 10 of Government Shutdown Ė Six Week Debt Limit Extension Possible
 

As the partial government shutdown continues into its tenth day, there have been signs that a potential, short-term deal to end the government shutdown and avert a national default by temporarily raising the debt ceiling may be in the works.  Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama had dueling press conferences this week, each detailing their requirements for ending the shutdown and averting default.  Speaker Boehner insisted on the president sitting down with Republicans to discuss a path forward, while the president reiterated his position for a clean continuing resolution and refused to negotiate spending cuts as part of a debt ceiling increase.  These press conferences did, however, yield some movement, with the president planning to meet separately with Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate.  These talks and the potential ramifications of not raising the debt ceiling have injected a very small bit of optimism that, at the very least, an agreement can be reached on averting a government default.

At a meeting this morning, House Republican leadership pitched a new plan to their members to increase the debt ceiling for six weeks – ensuring the United States meets all of its obligations – while keeping the government shut down.  This plan may just be a bargaining tool due to the Democrats’ insistence of reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling without any strings attached and the potential opposition from some of House Republicans.   Any agreement on a path forward will likely depend on the meeting this afternoon with House Republicans and President Obama.  The looming question is whether the president is willing to forego opening the government in return for a clean extension of the debt ceiling with assurances from Republicans that they will negotiate over the budget with Democrats.  White House officials have indicated that the president is open to the Republican debt limit proposal.

The situation is extremely fluid. There seems to be consensus that the debt limit will be extended, but under what conditions remains to be seen.  AGC continues to urge for an end to the government shutdown and an increase in the debt limit followed by serious negotiations on dealing with the debt and deficit in comprehensive fashion.

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

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The Government Shutdown: How does it impact Your Company?
 

Due to the shutdown, the U.S. government closed a number of its non-essential services as of Oct. 1, 2013. As a result of [the] congressional stalemate over a spending plan, many key government agencies, upon which employers regularly rely, are also closed and will remain closed for the duration of the shutdown.

What should employers do if they need to contact these agencies or have matters pending in federal courts? The following are some of the key agencies and government divisions—including their plans for operating during the shutdown—that might affect your business.

  • NLRB. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a statement on its website stating that it is “currently closed due to a lapse in appropriated funds.” The Board issued a 12-page contingency plan covering how it plans to operate during the shutdown.
  • EEOC. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) website, a limited number of agency services will still be available during the shutdown. The EEOC’s shutdown notice specifies the procedure the agency will follow for pending charges, federal sector hearings, federal sector appeals, and litigation.
  • Federal Judiciary. The federal courts will remain open for at least some time. According to an official statement, “the federal Judiciary will remain open for business for approximately 10 business days. On or around Oct. 15, 2013, the Judiciary will reassess its situation and provide further guidance. All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled, unless otherwise advised. Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) will remain in operation for the electronic filing of documents with courts.” In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that it will continue to conduct its normal operations through Oct. 4 in the event of a lapse of appropriations.
  • USCIS. Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group members reported on the effects of the shutdown in their recent article, “Immigration Consequences of a Possible Federal Government Shutdown.”  [Since], the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that all of its offices worldwide are open and that individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. Importantly, USCIS also reports that E-Verify will not be available during the federal government shutdown. As a result, individuals will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts. More information on the availability of E-Verify is available on the USCIS website.
  • DOL. As a result of the shutdown, some 800,000 federal employees are currently  furloughed without pay (However, the House has passed a bill that would pay federal workers for the time they were furloughed). The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) website features President Obama’s letter to these employees. In addition, on Sept. 25, the DOL updated its 63-page plan for activity during a lapse in appropriations, which details which of its employees will be on-the-job for the duration of the shutdown.
  • OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will reportedly be furloughing most of its employees, except for two senior compliance officers in each area office. According to OSHA’s website, workplace fatalities, hospitalizations, or imminent danger situations may still be reported to the agency during the shutdown.

Editor’s Note: This article was drafted by Ogletree Deakins, a labor and employment law firm that represents management. This information should not be relied upon as legal advice.

For more information, please contact Tamika Carter at (703) 837-5382 orcartert@agc.org Return to Top

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Submits Testimony to House Panel on Federal Contract Bundling
AGC Calls for Agency Economic Justification for Bundling & Increased Oversight
 

On Oct. 10, AGC submitted testimony to the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, which held a hearing on the impact of federal contract bundling on small businesses. While not opposed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) use of Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOCs) or the Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s (NAVFAC) use of Multiple Award Construction Contracts (MACCs), AGC noted federal agencies increasing use of these contracting vehicles and those contracts’ ability to shut out many contractors from federal work for long periods of time.

To remedy federal over-reliance on bundled contracts, AGC recommended that construction services contracts be included in the definition of “contract bundling.” As a result, federal agencies would be required to economically justify bundling construction contracts. In addition, AGC recommended increased oversight of federal agency utilization of these multiple award contracting vehicles to help ensure their appropriate use for procuring construction services in the best interest of taxpayers. In its testimony, AGC also included a task force report drafted by both small and large construction businesses detailing the association’s positions and recommendations on agency utilization of MATOCs/MACCs.

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

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AGC Submits Comments on Past Performance Evaluation Proposed Rule
Proposed Rule Would Limit Federal Contractor Response Time to Evaluations
 

On Oct. 7, AGC submitted comments objecting to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council’s proposed rule that would shorten the minimum 30-day past performance evaluation (PPE) review period for federal contractors to just 14 days. Under the proposed rule, a federal agency must post the PPE to the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) after the 14-day contractor review period expires, whether the contractor objects to the PPE or not.  Contractors, however, would be able to submit comments for inclusion in the PPE on PPIRS if they fail to meet the 14-day requirement. The proposed rule does not require the government to make those changes in a defined amount of time, which AGC indicates in its comments.

Additionally, in its comments, AGC strongly objected to this proposal, as such a measure would sacrifice the quality of PPEs for quantity; is not necessary given agency successes with submitting PPEs in PPIRS; and would over-burden small business construction contractors. 

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top
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AGC EVENTS
Last Chance to Attend the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Oct. 23-25, 2013 | Las Vegas, Nev.
 

Jointly sponsored by AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the 17th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. 

Register by Friday, Sept. 6 for special “Early Bird” discounts.  Additional discounts are available for subsequent registrations from the same firm.  Register now and save up to $210 – or 25 percent – off the standard registration fee.

The three-day conference features 36 interactive sessions covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications.  Participants may earn up to 19.5 continuing professional education (CPE) credits. 

Wednesday’s session will feature a panel of financial experts and a construction industry CFO who will provide real-world examples of the options available for transferring ownership of a construction business to employees or family members. Specifics covered will include: stock transfer techniques including ESOP and transfer to select managers, deal structuring, planning tips for undertaking an internal transfer, and lessons learned.  This session will provide an introduction to plan mechanics but, more importantly, offer perspectives from seasoned stock transfer veterans on the pluses and minuses of the various stock tranfer techniques, including ESOPs, which can be utilized by construction companies of all sizes. Speakers of this panel include Larry Mackiowak & Hugh Reynolds from Crowe Horwath LLP, Tim Sznewajs from FMI Capital Advisors, and Dan Murphy from Shiel Sexton.

To register online, please visit www.agc.org/AGC_CFMA.

For more information, please contact Brynn Tupper at (703) 837-5376 or tupperb@agc.org Return to Top

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Donít Miss the Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
 

The 2013 Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference will be held Nov. 7-9, 2013, at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Ariz.  Industry professionals from companies involved in building highway, bridge, utility and underground construction, transit, airport runway and rail projects will benefit from this conference.  Presentation and discussions on major trends in highway and utility construction will be featured, including:

Project Risk Analysis: Evaluating the Costs and Coverage

    • Caryn Maxfield, Walsh Construction Company
  • Technology Solutions for DBE Compliance
    • Chris Caron, Kiewit
  • A Commitment to Worker Safety
    • Jim Lastowka, U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission
  • Use of Tablet Technology for Project Management and Inspection
    • John Obr, Construction Division, TXDOT
    • Clark Prothero, Raba Kistner Infrastructure
  • Getting Cooperation on Sharing Electronic Design Files
    • Arizona DOT
  • Washington Update: Immigration Reform, Infrastructure Funding, Sequestration, Grand Bargain, Mid-Term Elections
    • Stephen Sandherr, AGC of America
  • Equipment Valuation in the World Market
    • Peter Blake, Ritchie Brothers
  • High-Tech and Low-Tech Project Management Solutions
    • Jason Dennis, Griffith Company
    • Dragan Stojanovic, Norair Engineering Corp.
  • Legal Developments that Will Impact the Construction Industry
    • Doug Hibshman, Fox Rothschild LLP

To register for the conference, please visit www.agc.org/highway_utilities.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or
deeryb@agc.org or Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org Return to Top

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CONGRESS
Most Senior Republican Retiring from the House
 

Twenty-two term Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.-13), the most senior Republican in the House (4th overall), announced that he will not seek re-election next year in his marginal Tampa Bay district. 

The veteran congressman is one of sixteen Republicans who represent a district in which President Obama outpolled GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. Last November, the President carried the 13th district with a 50.1-48.6 percent margin.

As an open seat, this district will host one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the country. Democrats have long waited for a chance to convert this seat, realistically understanding that their best chance would come when Mr. Young retired. In November, the congressman defeated former legislative aide Jessica Ehrlich 58-42 percent. He outspent his opponent $1.04 million to $530,000. Ms. Ehrlich has already announced her intention to run again.

Despite the district trending more Democratic, Republicans still maintain the vast majority of the region's key political positions. Freshman state Rep. Carl Zimmerman appears to be the Democrat holding the highest position in the district. There is no word as to whether or not he will jump into the now-open congressional race. One name that will undoubtedly pop up as a potential Democratic candidate, though his political aspirations appear pointed in a different direction, is Republican-turned-Independent-turned Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist. It is more likely, however, that the former state chief executive will attempt to regain his old job by challenging Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

On the Republican side, Pinellas County Commissioners Karen Seel and John Morroni, former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and ex-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker have already been mentioned as potential candidates. State Senators Jeff Brandes and Jack Latvala are also possibilities to run, as are several GOP state Representatives.

Mr. Young, now 82, was first elected to the House in 1970, after spending ten years in the Florida Senate. At the end of this current term, he will retire holding elective office for 54 consecutive years. His is a former Appropriations Committee chairman, and currently serves as the Defense Sub-Committee chairman of the full Appropriations Committee. His is the 19th open seat for the coming cycle. Mr. Young is the fourth member to retire outright. The others are running for a different office or have accepted federal or state appointed positions.

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

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