Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 7, 2013
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On the Inside
ELECTIONS
2013 Election Summary
Steve Daines Makes it Official
BUDGET
Budget Conferees Meet Again Next Week
LABOR
AGC Responds to USACE PLA Inquiry
AGC EVENTS
Register for the AGC Winter 2014 Financial Issues Forum
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ELECTIONS
2013 Election Summary
 

Election Night 2013 may have turned out somewhat differently than political polling projected in terms of margin, but the actual voting yielded few surprise winners.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, as expected, Gov. Chris Christie (R) romped to a second term, defeating state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) 60-38 percent. The only question was whether the governor could bring new Republican state legislators with him, but the legislative chambers remained virtually intact. The initial count shows the GOP gaining one state Senate seat and two Assembly positions, while strong Democratic majorities remain in both bodies.

Virginia

In Virginia, though polls were suggesting a Terry McAuliffe win of greater than five points – the final Washington Post poll projected a twelve point gap, for example – the actual Democratic margin of victory was only three points, 48-45 percent. McAuliffe only gained his first lead of the night when 91 percent of the vote had been counted. Despite being outspent by an estimated $15 million, one major issue that allowed Ken Cuccinelli to close the gap was voters’ disapproval of Obamacare.  In the lieutenant governor’s race, Democratic state Sen. Ralph Northam defeated Republican E. W. Jackson by 10 points, 55-45 percent.

But the race for Attorney General is the show-stopper and may be with us for quite awhile.  With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain leads Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring by only 681 votes. When the inevitable re-count begins, all ballots will again be tabulated simultaneously in every local courthouse throughout the state. Then, there will likely be a lengthy ballot challenging process followed by a judicial ruling before the race is finally over. Both candidates attracted just over one million votes.

Virginia turnout appears to be around 41 percent, about average for a gubernatorial year. The state Senate will now feature at least one special election for Sen. Northam's seat in Virginia Beach/Norfolk. Eventually, a second election will occur once the Attorney General's race is decided. It is likely that both Messrs. Obenshain and Herring will continue to serve in the Senate until a winner of the Attorney General's race is finally decided.

Little change occurred in the Virginia House of Delegates. Just one Republican seat appears headed to the Democratic side of the aisle, meaning the GOP two-thirds majority drops by only one position. It was thought that a bigger Democratic victory could have brought sizable legislative gains.

Alabama’s First Congressional District

Elsewhere, in the important AL-1 special Republican run-off election, former state Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne held off a late charge from social conservative candidate Dean Young.  Byrne just barely beat out Young  in a close 52.5-4 7.5 percent battle, despite having outspent his opponent by more than a 2:1 ratio, held almost all prominent endorsements, and had outside Independent expenditure spending go his way. Mr. Byrne now advances to the Dec. 17 special general election against Democratic nominee Burton LeFlore, which should be a pro forma affair. The real election was last night, and Mr. Byrne should replace resigned Rep. Jo Bonner (R) beginning in January.

Mayors

Turning to the Mayor's races, Democrat Bill de Blasio scored a 71 percent win to become the first Democrat in 20 years to claim New York City's top political job.

The result in Boston was much tighter, as state Rep. Marty Walsh scored a 52-48 percent victory over at-large City Councilor John Connolly. Mr. Walsh replaces retiring Mayor Tom Menino, the longest-serving Mayor in city history.

The Detroit race went to businessman Mike Duggan, who won the right to advance to the run-off election via write-in campaign during the primary. Mr. Duggan, who will become the first Caucasian to lead the city in 40 years, tallied a 55-45 percent win over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

In Seattle, state Sen. Ed Murray successfully unseated Mayor Mike McGinn by what appears to be a 56-43 percent count.

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

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Steve Daines Makes it Official
 

When former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) announced in July that he would not seek retiring Sen. Max Baucus' (D) open seat, all eyes turned toward freshman at-large Rep. Steve Daines (R). Now, four months later, Mr. Daines confirms in a formal announcement yesterday that he will become a Senate candidate.

His entry in the race gives the Republicans their strongest candidate. The move also sets up a likely general election match-up between he and Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D), who made public his own Senate bid last month. Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, now 77 years old and a former Republican, also says he will run for the Democratic nomination, but Mr. Walsh commands the inside track in the party primary. This Senate race is one of three – South Dakota and West Virginia being the other two – where the Republicans begin as favorites to convert a Democratic seat.

Daines’ move creates an open race for the at-large seat for which major action will occur. There are now 22 open seats, 15 of which are currently in Republican hands. Of the 22, six appear poised for serious political competition.

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

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BUDGET
Budget Conferees Meet Again Next Week
 

On Nov. 13, budget conferees are scheduled to gather for a second public meeting to debate the appropriate top-line numbers and policy mix for a fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget. The 29 conferees will have four weeks remaining before the Dec. 13 deadline to reach a final agreement. Although no details of the meeting agenda have been released by the budget staff, some of the conferees have expressed interest in having an independent budget expert testify on the fiscal challenges ahead.

In addition to ongoing private conversations between the leaders of the conference, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), other conferees on the committee have been talking during informal meetings and phone conversations while the House has been on recess this week.

Chairman Ryan and others on the committee have predicted no “grand bargain” on long-term deficit reduction, suggesting they may not tackle any large structural changes in the entitlement programs. Expert observers and members of the budget conference have been alluding that an agreement will most likely take the form of a one- or two-year government funding deal, which would include some relief from the next round of sequestration. Chairman Ryan and other Republicans have pressed Democrats on the panel to consider smaller changes, such as means testing for Medicare, as part of a sequester replacement package.

A multitude of leading business groups and coalitions have been asking conferees to seek common ground in order to avert a situation early next year that will lead to yet another fiscal crisis precipitated by brinkmanship. Last week, AGC sent a letter to the conferees outlining industry priorities on taxes, entitlement spending, sequestration and investment in the nation’s infrastructure.

The budget conference meeting is expected to be broadcast live either on C-SPAN or the Budget Committee's website on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

On the tax reform front, House Leadership met with House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) regarding his proposals and timing on moving a tax reform package, and the House leadership’s chiefs of staff met as early as yesterday with senior Ways and Means staffers to discuss tax reform timelines. Early readouts suggest that leadership is hesitant on the current trajectory for a tax package in the Ways and Means Committee.

For more information, please contact Brian Lenihan at (202) 547-4733 lenihanb@agc.org Return to Top

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LABOR
AGC Responds to USACE PLA Inquiry
 

On Nov. 4, AGC sent a letter opposing the possible use of a project labor agreement (PLA) mandate posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District for the New Orleans to Venice West Bank Levee project in Louisiana.

AGC has sent over 80 letters to federal agencies opposing PLA mandates and bid preferences during the Obama Administration, most in response to agency announcements that a PLA mandate or preference was under consideration for a particular project or an anticipated set of projects in a particular area. Of those, only one PLA mandate has been issued to date.

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process. To view AGC efforts opposing government mandated PLAs, click here.

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

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AGC EVENTS
Register for the AGC Winter 2014 Financial Issues Forum
 

Join 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.

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

For more information, please contact Brian Lenihan at (202) 547-4733 or lenihanb@agc.org. Return to Top

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