Shutdown Over – Fiscal Fight Continues
It took an AGC-supported compromise between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to break the logjam and
bring an end to the government shutdown and stalemate over the debt
ceiling. However, while the Reid-McConnell deal does not address spending
or the debt ceiling in the long-term, it does inject a small amount of
certainty into our economy and sets the groundwork for addressing our nation’s
long-term fiscal challenges.
The bill was signed last night
by President Obama after it passed the Senate by a vote of 81-18 and the House of Representatives by a vote of 285-144.
All Democrats and 27 Republicans in the Senate voted yes and, in the House, 87
Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the bill with 144 Republicans
The bill – known as the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014
– will fund the government at Republican-supported post-sequester levels of
$986 billion until Jan. 15, 2014, and will extend the debt ceiling until Feb.
7, 2014. The only Obamacare-related provision that made it into the
package will require the Health and Human Services secretary to certify to
Congress that proper income-verification procedures are in place before any
subsidies are given out to those who qualify for federal help while buying insurance
on the new exchanges.
The bill did not make any funding changes to federal
construction accounts. It did, however, contain three provisions
impacting AGC members. The first provision prohibits from starting in FY
2014. The first provision prohibits the start of new direct-federal
construction FY 2014 projects that did not receive any funding in FY 2013. The
second provision allows the Federal Highway Administration to allocate up to
$450 million in Emergency Relief highway appropriations to Colorado for repair
of 2013 flooding damage, despite the $100 million per state per incident. The third
provision raised the cap on the amount that can be
spent on the U.S. Army Corps Olmsted Locks and Dam Project in Illinois to $2.9
billion from $1.56 billion currently. The measure does not appropriate
funds, but allows work on the project to continue. Without the cap
increase, this major public works project would have been shutdown in
A key component of the Reid-McConnell deal – but not included
in the legislation passed last night – was a bipartisan agreement for the House
and Senate to go to conference on their respective fiscal year 2014
budgets. The committee will immediately begin debating top-line spending
levels (there is a $90 billion difference between the House and Senate budgets)
and then will seek to negotiate long-term solutions to the nation’s fiscal
challenges, including ways to responsibly address across-the-board spending
cuts known as sequestration. The conference would be required to issue a report
by Dec. 13, 2013 (the last scheduled day in the first session of the
If the budget conference committee fails to find common
ground on how deal with sequestration, discretionary spending, entitlement
programs and revenue, there is the potential for a replay of the past 16 days,
as short-term extensions of government funding and the debt limit expire on
Jan. 15 and Feb.7, respectively. Unfortunately, precedent is not on the side of
success as learned from the last similar panel – the so-called “super
committee” of 2011 was deadlocked and adjourned in disagreement, while
the Simpson-Bowles Commission on deficit reduction failed to win the support of
a super majority of its members and was never embraced by the president.
AGC will work closely with the conferees
and their staffs on matters that affect our members, including the tax outlook
for AGC member companies, solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and increased
For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at
(202) 547-8892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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With Government Shutdown and Stalemate Over, is Immigration Overhaul Next?
The timeline for action and debate of immigration reform had
been sidelined by the House of Representatives as they worked on the debt
ceiling and government shutdown. With yesterday’s passage of a budget deal,
there is a possibility that some members of Congress will turn their attention
back to immigration. President Obama spoke about pivoting the discussion to
immigration before he had even signed the budget deal bill.
Since the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration earlier
in the summer, Republican leaders have reiterated that they would not simply
debate and vote on the Senate’s version of overhauling the nation’s immigration
laws. Instead, they outlined a process that includes debating smaller pieces of
legislation addressing specific parts of reform and then have them progress
through the committees of jurisdiction before the full house would act.
To date, the House Judiciary Committee has approved the
following legislation: making E-Verify mandatory for employers; a bill that
would raise the number of visas for high-skilled workers; a new agricultural
guest worker program; and an interior enforcement bill. The House Homeland
Security Committee also passed a bipartisan border security bill. Missing
from the work of the committees so far is a bill creating a guestworker program
for low skilled workers – especially important for industries such as
construction – and legislation addressing the current undocumented individuals
already in the country, which is among the more controversial components of
AGC is hopeful that attention may again be placed on
immigration reform. The current system is broken and provides little
opportunity for legal immigration. The Senate bill met many of AGC’s priorities
for reform, including strengthening national security, creating a fair and
efficient employment verification system, addressing the current undocumented
population along with the patchwork of state and local laws and a new visa
system for temporary workers to meet future workforce shortages. With the
exception of the new visa system for temporary workers including a restriction
for construction employers from fully utilizing the system, the bill sets a
good framework for reform.
With immigration reform looking to heat up again, it is
important that AGC members take the time to meet and speak with their
Representatives on the need to pass immigration reform. Go to AGC’s
Legislative Action Center to write a letter to your members, attend
town hall meetings or make in person visits.For
more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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House to Vote on WRRDA Next Week
TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Congressman to Support WRRDA
The House of Representatives is slated to vote on the Water
Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), H.R. 3080, next week. Please take
action and urge your U.S. Representative to vote
“yes” on H.R. 3080.
Prior to the government shutdown, the WRRDA bill passed the
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a unanimous, bipartisan voice vote. The WRRDA bill authorizes
approximately $10 billion for new construction projects—navigation, flood
control, locks, dams, and environment restoration--through the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers’ (USACE) Civil Works program. To view the potential
new projects, see
pages 155 through 160 of the bill. Aside from authorizing new projects, the bill includes a
host of other AGC contractor priorities,
including project delivery and environmental streamlining, improving the Harbor
Maintenance Trust Fund and Inland Waterways Trust Fund, a public-private
partnership pilot program that leverages, but does not replace, government
funding for water resources projects. You can also find a detailed,
side-by-side analysis of the House and Senate bills by
As with Senate passage of its
WRRDA bill S. 601 in
May, AGC has actively pressed
for its WRRDA priorities in the House. AGC has met with over 60 House offices,
coordinated the signatures of 56 AGC chapters on a business community WRRDA
support letter in anticipation of House action, sent letters of support through
two AGC-co-chaired multi-industry coalitions—the Transportation
Construction Coalition and the Water
Resources Coalition—as well as AGC's
own letter of support. AGC continues to
advocate and coordinate concerted support for passage of a pro-reform and
pro-water resources infrastructure investment WRRDA bill.
If the House passes the bill, a
conference committee comprised of members from both chambers will commence to
reconcile the differences between the House and Senate WRRDA bills before final
passage. AGC will continue to press for enactment of a WRRDA bill that includes
the construction industry’s priorities. Again, please take
action and urge your U.S. Representative to
support H.R. 3080.For more information,
please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Booker Wins in New Jersey
For the last three weeks, virtually all the pollsters
surveying the special New Jersey Senate campaign projected an eleven point
victory for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) – and that's exactly what happened.
Last night, Mr. Booker defeated former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) by a
55-44 percent margin. The electoral result allows him to fill the
remaining portion of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D) final term in
office. He will be eligible to run for a full six-year term in November
more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or email@example.com.
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Mr. Booker began the special election as the heir apparent to this seat, and
commanded early polling leads that exceeded 20 points. His advantage then
decreased to low double-digits, and that's where it stood until the end of the
campaign. Republicans never put up much of a fight for the seat,
virtually conceding the race to Booker from the time Gov. Chris Christie (R)
decided to call a special election to fill the remainder of the term. He could
have made an interim appointment that would have lasted through the 113th
Congress, but decided to allow the people to choose Mr. Lautenberg's successor.
Christie did appoint then-state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa (R) to serve in
the Senate on an interim basis. He will depart upon Mr. Booker being
officially sworn into office. Last night's election results return the
Senate Democrats to a 55-45 advantage.
More than 1.3 million individuals cast ballots in the special general election,
which is just about 24 percent of the registered voter base. Turnout was
about average considering there was little suspense or competitive excitement
associated with the campaign.
Clark and Addivinola Secure Their Party’s Nomination
The race for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday,
tantamount to a special election victory in the Boston suburban 5th
Congressional District, was projected to finish within a razor-thin
margin. It didn't.
State Sen. Katherine Clark, riding a large turnout from her Malden-Melrose
political base, pulled away from Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian when
the last quarter of the vote was counted to clinch the Democratic nomination
with 32 percent of the vote. Koutoujian finished ten points behind at 22
percent. In third, exceeding his polling expectations, was state Rep.
Carl Sciortino notching 16 percent. State Sens. Will Brownsberger and
Karen Spilka brought up the rear with 15 and 13 percents, respectively.
Spilka was the most disappointing performer based upon previous polling
releases. Her own two Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Group surveys
both showed her in second place, just a single point behind the leader.
On the Republican side, attorney Frank Addivinola easily claimed his party's
nomination, securing 49 percent of the vote as compared to physicist Mike
Stopa's 26 percent, and former U.S. Marine Tom Tierney's 25 percent. Sen.
Clark and Mr. Addivinola now advance to the Dec. 10 special general election,
but that vote will not likely be much of a contest as Clark is now the
prohibitive favorite to win the seat.
Democratic turnout dwarfed that of Republicans, as 69,525 members of their
party cast ballots within the crowded field of candidates. The GOP
turnout only reached 9,692 voters, a testament more to the low number of
registered Republicans as opposed to an abnormally low participation rate.
The 5th District is vacant because 37-year congressional
veteran Ed Markey (D) was elected to the Senate back in June.
For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013
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Registration is Open for the AGC Winter 2014 Financial Issues Forum
AGC Member Company CFOs, CEOs and other senior accounting professionals Jan. 9-10,
2014, in Miami, Fla. for the AGC Financial Issues Forum (formerly the Tax and
Fiscal Affairs Committee Meeting). Be sure to make your hotel arrangements by Wednesday, Dec.
18 to take
advantage of group rates.
The conference will
feature in-depth discussions with fellow contractors, legislative
representatives and AGC staff, and delve deep into the latest financial and
accounting issues impacting the construction industry.
register online, please visit www.agc.org/fif. For more information,
please contact Brian Lenihan at (202) 547-4733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
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.
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 transfer
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 email@example.com.
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Don’t 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:
Risk Analysis: Evaluating the Costs and Coverage
Maxfield, Walsh Construction Company
- Technology Solutions for
- A Commitment to Worker
- Jim Lastowka, U.S. Occupational Safety & Health
- 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
- Washington Update:
Immigration Reform, Infrastructure Funding, Sequestration, Grand Bargain,
- 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
To register for the conference, please visit www.agc.org/highway_utilities.
For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott
Berry at (703) 837-5321 or email@example.com.
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