Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 14, 2013
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On the Inside
BUDGET
Budget Conference Convenes Second Meeting
Contact Your Member of Congress
HEALTHCARE
AGC Submits Comments on Affordable Care Act Employer Reporting Requirements
Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Delay New Health Care Taxes
TRANSPORTATION
DOT Reschedules Listening Session on DBE Proposed Rule Changes
AGC Responds to USACE PLA Inquiry
AGC EVENTS
SAVE THE DATE: 2014 Federal Contractors Conference
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BUDGET
Budget Conference Convenes Second Meeting
 

On Nov. 13, the 29 budget conferees congregated for their second public meeting to debate the fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget top-line numbers and query the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf regarding policy changes to spur economic growth and restrain expanding federal deficits.

The conferees have until Dec. 13 – 14 legislative days – to come to an agreement and, at the very least, provide some relief from another round of sequester cuts set to take effect on Jan. 15. It is becoming rather evident that the most likely outcome will be a short-term agreement such as a one- or two-year government funding deal that includes some relief from the next round of sequestration.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have yet to announce either the conference committee’s next public meeting in December, or any progress on a top-line for FY 2014 in their private discussions.

House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen called on the conferees last month to settle on a level of discretionary spending for FY 2014 and 2015 before Thanksgiving and no later than Dec. 2. Appropriators are concerned that they would not be able to cobble together language for an omnibus spending bill in time if they do not get the top-line numbers by early December, leading to another continuing resolution (CR) or a potential government shutdown in mid-January.

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

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Contact Your Member of Congress
 

As the House and Senate Budget Conference Committee members continue to meet, AGC is urging them to address the long-term stability of the Highway Trust Fund.

Last week, AGC urged members to visit the AGC Legislative Action Center and send a letter to their respective members of Congress asking them to consider all available options to address the revenue shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) in 2015 and beyond.  It is imperative that Senators and Representatives continue to hear from AGC members that they must take the opportunity provided by the budget conference to put forth a plan on how to fill the nearly $15 billion projected gap facing the trust fund next year.

In addition to grassroots efforts, AGC is working with its transportation stakeholders to raise the issue, including the AGC led coalition Transportation Construction Coalition, which sent a letter to Congress urging them to consider the HTF Solvency in any final agreement on the budget.  AGC will continue to work to ensure that, if there is a large deal on the budget outside of fiscal year 2014 spending levels and sequestration, the solvency of the HTF will be part of that deal.

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

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HEALTHCARE
AGC Submits Comments on Affordable Care Act Employer Reporting Requirements
 

In response to a request for comments from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), AGC submitted comments regarding the proposed employer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as the health care reform law.  The reporting requirements will be used to verify the individual and employer mandates.  The concerns of AGC member companies were expressed via joint comments submitted by the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (E-FLEX) – a coalition group of leading trade associations, large businesses and employer-sponsored health plans.  AGC also submitted an independently-drafted letter specifically addressing the needs of construction employers with workers who are subject to collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).

Both letters were submitted in response to the proposed regulations requiring large employers to share – with both full-time employees and the IRS – information about the health care coverage offered the previous year.  The proposed regulations state that employers must, on a monthly basis, provide a list of all full-time employees, the coverage offered to those employees, and the costs of the coverage.  Additional proposed regulations require insurers, as well as self-insured plans and multiemployer health plans, to report, in detail, the coverage provided to participants. The IRS will then use the data provided by employers and plans to verify compliance with the law’s employer and individual mandates. This requirement is scheduled to begin in 2016.  

The E-FLEX comment letter requested a more streamlined approach to the reporting process in order to help employers and individuals retain their existing coverage. The letter also asks the Obama administration to reevaluate the necessity of the data that is being collected from employers with regard to what is actually needed to administer the law. 

AGC’s comment letter complimented the E-FLEX letter by specifically addressing the impact of the proposed regulations on employers with workers who are subject to a CBA. Often, the health plan information needed to satisfy the reporting requirements proposed in the rules is not readily available to these employers, making it more difficult to accurately report on the coverage provided to their employees. AGC asks that these employers be allowed to satisfy the requirements by reporting that it contributes to a multiemployer group health plan for all employees who perform work under a CBA. In addition, AGC is asking for a permanent extension of a previously announced safe harbor for employers who contribute to multiemployer group health plans, specifically as it relates to the requirement to provide minimal essential coverage to full-time employees and their dependents. The current transition relief, which expires in 2014, states that an applicable large employer will not be subject to a penalty for failing to offer minimum essential coverage to a full-time employee and his or her dependents if: the employer is required to make a contribution to a multiemployer plan with respect to the full-time employee pursuant to a CBA; coverage under the multiemployer plan is offered to the full-time employee and his or her dependents; and the coverage offered is affordable and provides minimum value.

AGC will continue to monitor for any new developments and will notify members once final regulations are issued.  For additional information and resources on the employer requirements of the ACA, visit AGC’s ACA compliance assistance webpage at www.agc.org.healthcarereform.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org Return to Top

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Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Delay New Health Care Taxes
 

The Small Business and Family Relief Act was recently introduced, which will delay the health insurance tax until 2016. The tax is scheduled to begin in 2014 and will be levied on health insurance companies – and will ultimately be passed on to small businesses and employees who are covered by their employer. The tax is one of the largest tax increases in the Affordable Care Act.

The legislation would offer immediate relief for small employers, despite the fact that the preferred outcome would be a full repeal of the health insurance tax. AGC joined with other stakeholders in the Stop the HIT Coalition in a support letter of the legislation.  While the legislation is bipartisan, it faces many hurdles before it could be enacted.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
DOT Reschedules Listening Session on DBE Proposed Rule Changes
 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has rescheduled a Listening Session on the proposed changes to DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program rules to Dec. 5, 2013, and has extended the deadline for written comments on the proposed rule changes until Dec. 26. The Listening Session was originally scheduled for Oct. 9, but had to be postponed due to the government shutdown. The Listening Session will now be held at U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington D.C. and is intended to gather information on the potential costs associated with the proposed rules.

AGC of America will have a witness participate at the Listening Session. AGC joined ARTBA in surveying members about the potential cost impacts of the proposal and these results will be presented at the Listening Session and in written comments. AGC chapters are also encouraged to have a spokesperson participate in the Listening Session. While DOT will be webcasting the event, in order to present oral comments, the witness must be physically present. DOT indicates that, due to space limitations, registration is required to participate in this event. Registration will close on Thursday, Nov. 21 so, in order to assure a reserved time slot, please register today.

If you plan to attend the event in person, please go to the following link to register:

If you plan to participate via web conference, please go to the following link to register:

NOTE: If you registered for the cancelled Oct. 9 DBE NPRM Listening Session, you will need to register again.

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

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AGC Responds to USACE PLA Inquiry
 

On Nov. 13, AGC sent a letter opposing the possible use of a project labor agreement (PLA) mandate posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District for the Center Hill Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project in Lancaster, Tennessee.

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
SAVE THE DATE: 2014 Federal Contractors Conference
June 10-12, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
 

The 2014 AGC Federal Contractors Conference will be held June 10-12, 2014, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will be held in conjunction with the Transportation Construction Coalition meeting, also at the Mayflower Hotel, June 9-10.

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, the Federal Contractors Conference has a place for you. 

Conference participants include representatives from Federal owners who seek construction contractors that perform a diverse range of projects, including building construction, military construction projects for our Armed Services, and water resources projects that benefit our nation’s navigation and flood control. At this meeting, federal representatives and contractors will sit down in a collaborative environment and collectively discuss issues facing the federal construction contracting industry.

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

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