Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org April 10, 2014
Spacer
AGC Home Page
Email our Editor
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe
Printer Friendly
AGC Political Toolkit
RSS
Take Action!
On the Inside
ENVIRONMENT
Congress Continues Pressure on EPA over Clean Water Act Jurisdiction
HARDHATS FOR HIGHWAYS
Your Reps will be Home to Meet with You Deliver the Hardhats for Highways Message
AGC and TCC Need Your Input - How is the HTF Shortfall is Impacting Your Business?
EPW Committee Announces Agreement on Reauthorization Principles
SAFETY
National Work Zone Awareness Week Focuses on Motorist Behavior
BUDGET
House Passes Republican Budget
LABOR
NLRB Ambush Election Rule Comment Deadline Passes
Federal Contractors Face New Compensation Disclosure Requirements
TAX
Expired Tax Provisions Addressed in House
AGC EVENTS
Want to Know the Latest Federal Construction Projects to Hit the Street?
TCC Fly-In & AGC DOT Meetings: Find Out the Latest Washington Developments on Funding, Contracting, Innovation
ENVIRONMENT
Congress Continues Pressure on EPA over Clean Water Act Jurisdiction
 

This week, both the House and Senate continued to apply pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the significant expansion of its authority to regulation wetlands and wet areas under the Clean Water Act (CWA). In the Senate, all eight Republican Senators on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee sent a letter to President Barack Obama regarding federal regulation of CWA jurisdiction, which the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released in late March.

The proposed rule, which has not yet been officially published in the federal register, would expand federal jurisdiction, defining ‘tributary’ for the first time. This would make any water that connects to a traditionally navigable body of water and has a bed, bank, and ordinary high water mark jurisdictional including roadside, stormwater, and irrigation ditches. Senators signing the letter included: Sens. Vitter (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

In the House, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved legislation to bar EPA from vetoing CWA Section 404 permits after the Corps has issued them. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of EPA's ability to retroactively veto the Spruce coal mine permit in West Virginia last year.

AGC will continue to monitor legislative activity relating to the Clean Water Act and will continue to be active advocating for reasonable regulatory clarifications to CWA jurisdiction.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
HARDHATS FOR HIGHWAYS
Your Reps will be Home to Meet with You Deliver the Hardhats for Highways Message
April 14-25, 2014 | www.HardhatsforHighways.org
 

Your Senators and Representatives will be back working in your home districts starting next Monday, April 14 through Friday, April 25.  It is the perfect opportunity to set up meetings to discuss the importance federal highway funding has on your company and your job. Make an appointment to visit the District office closest to you. Bring this informational leave-behind and a company hardhat with the “Hardhats for Highways” decal affixed listing the number of jobs in your company that will be affected if funding is cut off. While these are the best times to visit, don’t hesitate to set up appointments at other times and visit with their staff members.

If you have already met with your members of Congress, please take a moment and report your deliveries to us so we may continue to educate Congress here in Washington, D.C.  You may also email brynn.huneke@hardhatsforhighways.org to report your visits, including the date of your meeting, the Congressional office you visited, with whom you met, the number of jobs indicated on your hardhat, and, if possible, a photo capturing the exchange. Your deliveries will be tallied on www.HardhatsforHighways.org through the Jobs Tracker tool.

We also encourage you and your employees to send “e-Hardhat” letters telling Congress to take action.

It is never too late to get involved. To date, Hardhats for Highways has already distributed 14,000 hardhat decals to companies in the construction industry. More than 1,800 “e-Hardhat” letters have been sent to 285 different Congressional offices in 44 states.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC and TCC Need Your Input - How is the HTF Shortfall is Impacting Your Business?
 

AGC and the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) are seeking input on how the looming Highway Trust Fund shortfall is impacting business decisions and state transportation programs.   This survey, along with the recently launched Highways for Hardhats campaign, is part of AGC’s continued efforts to raise awareness of the impacts of Highway Trust Fund’s revenue crisis.

AGC and the TCC are gathering input from their members as the U.S. Department of Transportation starts to take measures to deal with the projected July insolvency of the trust fund.  These measures – including delaying payments to states – will have a direct impact on the ability of states to pay contractors.  The information received from the survey will be shared with members of Congress as they debate how to avoid the looming shortfall.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
EPW Committee Announces Agreement on Reauthorization Principles
 

Today, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Environmental & Public Works (EPW) Committee announced they reached an “agreement in principle” on a reauthorization of MAP-21.  Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and ranking member David Vitter (R-La.) were joined at the announcement by the Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and ranking member John Barrasso (R-Wy.), where they said they hoped to pass the bill out of committee in May. 

The Senators outlined the basic principles around which the bill will be written.  They include: funding the highway programs at current levels plus annual inflation adjustments; passing a multiyear authorization, if possible; maintaining current state funding formulas; and encouraging rural access to the transportation system.

Before the bill can go to the Senate Floor for a vote, three other Senate committees – Banking, Commerce, and Finance – will also need to move their portions of the bill.  The Finance Committee is the most crucial player in this entire reauthorization process.  It is projected that in order to maintain current funding levels plus inflation, the Highway Trust Fund would need an additional $16 billion in revenue.  The length of the bill will be determined by how much revenue the Finance Committee can generate for the trust fund.

AGC is encouraged by today’s announcement and looks forward to continue to work with Congress to ensure the timely reauthorization of a federal transportation funding bill, but perhaps more immediately, Congress must  deal with the immediate revenue crisis facing the trust fund this summer.  We urge all AGC chapters and members to get involved and contact your elected officials on these very important issues.  More information can be found at www.hardhatsforhighways.org.

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

EPW Committee Announces Agreement on Reauthorization Principles Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
SAFETY
National Work Zone Awareness Week Focuses on Motorist Behavior
 

"Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake" is the theme of this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 7–11), which is intended to highlight the dangers to construction workers and motorists when highway improvement projects are underway. AGC participated in the national event, held in Seattle, Wash. on Tuesday, April 8, hosted by the Washington State Department of Transportation, with participation from the Federal Highway Administration, AASHTO, and other national construction associations. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 609 people died in highway work-zone crashes in 2012, an increase of 19 fatalities over the previous year. Nearly four in five victims in work zone crashes in 2012 were drivers or passengers. The statistics also show that in 35 percent of all fatal work zone crashes speeding was a factor and 25 percent of the fatal crashes involved heavy duty trucks.

Many AGC chapters annually cooperate with their state DOTs to hold Work Zone Awareness campaign events this week and throughout the next several months. The National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign began in 1999 to reduce fatalities and promote safer driving practices. The focus of this year’s campaign is educating motorists about why they need to slow down and pay attention in highway work zones. State transportation departments continue to work closely with the Federal Highway Administration, AGC chapters and other industry groups to promote increased law enforcement near work zones, improvements in work zone planning and design, enhanced worker training and heightened awareness among drivers.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top
Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
BUDGET
House Passes Republican Budget
 

Today, the House of Representatives passed the official Republican budget for 2015 on a party-line vote of 219-205 (12 Republicans voted no).  Although the budget is largely symbolic, it has the potential to impact upcoming revenue shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorization of MAP-21.

A statement on the transportation portion of the budget from the AGC-led Transportation Construction Coalition can be found here.

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

  Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
LABOR
NLRB Ambush Election Rule Comment Deadline Passes
 

The deadline for public comment on the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) proposed rule on representation-case procedures ended this Monday, April 7. The proposed rule, known as the “quickie election” or “ambush election” rule, would expedite the union representation election cycle to as little as 10-21 days from the union's filing of a petition for an election.

AGC submitted comments on the proposed rule as did the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which AGC is also a member. AGC also sent a letter to the Education and Workforce Committee this week in support of two pieces of legislation that would codify existing NLRB election procedures and prevent the board from imposing sweeping changes on the workplace through regulation. The bills will likely pass the House; however, it is unlikely the Senate will consider them. For more information about the proposed regulation, visit the AGC website.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Federal Contractors Face New Compensation Disclosure Requirements
 

On April 8, President Obama took two executive actions that will impact federal contractors.  First, the president signed an executive order (EO) that will require federal contractors to allow their employees to discuss their earnings with one another. Second, the president signed a presidential memorandum (PM) instructing the U.S. Secretary of Labor to issue new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor (DOL) data on compensation paid  to their employees, including by sex and race.

The new EO applies to employers with federal and federally-assisted contracts and their subcontractors, as it amends EO 11246 with provisions allowing for the disclosure of employee compensation.  According to the White House, the EO does not compel employees to discuss pay, nor does it require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data. The EO protects the rights of employees to disclose not only their own compensation, but also that of “another employee or applicant.” While the National Labor Relations Board has long-interpreted the National Labor Relations Act as protecting the right of workers to discuss compensation, the EO now solidifies the interpretation. This does not apply to employees who have access to compensation information of other employee applicants as a part of such an employee’s essential job function, unless disclosure is required as part of a judicial procedure or federal agency investigation. The EO applies to contracts entered into on or after the effective date of rules issued by the Department of Labor (DOL), a date for which is not specified.

In contrast, the PM applies only to federal prime contractors and subcontractors that perform work directly for federal agencies. The White House notes that it will allow DOL to use the data submitted to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to “target enforcement more effectively by focusing efforts where there are discrepancies.”  Federal contractors were previously required to complete a similar survey, which was put into place by DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs during the Clinton Administration.  The tool was later rescinded during the Bush Administration. The PM requires DOL to issue a proposed rule within 120 days.

These presidential actions come on the heels of the president signing an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractor employees to $10.10 per hour.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TAX
Expired Tax Provisions Addressed in House
 

On Tuesday, the House Ways & Means Committee held its first hearing for making permanent some of the business-related tax provisions that expired last December and were included in the discussion draft introduced by Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Feb. 26. Analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation on the seven business-related tax provisions in the “Tax Reform Act of 2014” can be viewed here.

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee approved by voice vote the EXPIRE Act, which would retroactively extend for two years the nearly 55 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013 at an estimated cost of $86 billion. The EXPIRE Act contains seven tax policy priorities for the construction industry including expanded expensing limitations for Section 179 property and bonus depreciation.

The EXPIRE Act is anticipated to next head to the Senate floor for a full vote. Although Senate leaders support an extenders package, the timing of the actual floor vote is uncertain. It is expected to pass after some debate, notwithstanding pockets of opposition to various provisions. The House path is less clear on whether the chamber will mark up its own extenders bill or accept the Senate’s version at some point during a post-election “lame duck” session of Congress.

For more information, please contact Brian Lenihan at (202) 547-4733 or lenihanb@agc.org Return to Top
Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC EVENTS
Want to Know the Latest Federal Construction Projects to Hit the Street?
Register for the Federal Contractors Conference by April 24 and Save $100
 

With the fiscal year 2014 budget in place and the president’s fiscal year 2015 budget released, federal agencies have a better understanding of the projects coming down the pike. Many top federal agency leaders and their colleagues will discuss their plans at the 2014 AGC Federal Contractors Conference held June 10-12 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Will you be there to hear what they say and get a jump on the competition?

Among the federal agencies invited to attend with their construction representatives, including but not limited to, top generals and rear admirals, agency heads, head contracting policy officers, chief civil engineers, chiefs of construction, lead architects and BIM specialists, small business officers and more are:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Military & Civil Works Programs)
  • Naval Facilities Engineering Command Commander
  • Air Force Civil Engineer Center
  • General Services Administration
  • U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Building Operations
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
To register for and learn more about this conference, go to www.agc.org/fedcon.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TCC Fly-In & AGC DOT Meetings: Find Out the Latest Washington Developments on Funding, Contracting, Innovation
June 10-11, 2014 | The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC
 

AGC urges its members to participate in this year’s Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In and bring the message to Congress that: The Time is Now: Fix the Highway Trust Fund!  With the Highway Trust Fund projected to run short of cash as early as July 2014, slowing Federal reimbursements to state DOTs for ongoing contracts and the very real potential that there will be no federal funds available for new highway construction projects starting on Oct. 1, 2014 – Congress needs to hear from you.

The Hardhats for Highways campaign was organized to address these concerns. The TCC Fly-In is an ideal opportunity for you to join your construction industry allies to deliver your company hard hat to your Congressional delegation highlighting the number of jobs your company provides that will be impacted by the Highway Trust Fund insolvency.  A “Rally for Roads” will be held on the Washington Mall to get attention from the media about the highway funding dilemma.

In conjunction with the TCC Fly-In, AGC has scheduled meetings with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) modal agencies including the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration.

Register today to participate in the AGC/DOT meetings and TCC Fly-In.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

AGC Townhouse, 53 D Street SE • Washington, DC 20003 • 202.547.1625 (phone) • 202.547.1635 (fax)• www.agc.org
AGC Home | About AGC | Advocacy | Industry Topics | Construction Markets | Programs & Events | Career Development | News & Media

To ensure delivery of AGC’s Construction Legislative Week in Review, please add 'communications@agc.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, visit our white-listing page for more details.

© Copyright The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. All Rights Reserved.