Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 22, 2014
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On the Inside
WATER RESOURCES
WRRDA Overwhelmingly Passes in House & Senate
TRANSPORTATION
House Committee Approves Transportation Funding Bill
Get Involved in Hardhats for Highways
LABOR
Deal Reached on Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System
AGC Joins Coalition Letter Urging Congress to Reauthorize and Improve the Perkins Act
PROCUREMENT REFORM
House Approves AGC Procurement Reform Measures in NDAA
AGC EVENTS
Limited Space Still Available at 2014 Federal Contractors Conference
Complimentary AGC Webinar: The Latest Trends in Military Construction and MATOCs
2014 ELECTIONS
Tuesday’s Primary Results
WATER RESOURCES
WRRDA Overwhelmingly Passes in House & Senate
Moves to President’s Desk for Signature
 

This week, both the House – by a vote of 412-4 – and the Senate – by a vote of 91-7 – approved the final Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).

Most notably, the bill would authorize 34 new construction projects, while deauthorizing about $18 billion-worth of projects that have remained on the books for years without any action. To view the projects authorized, go to page 176 of the bill.  AGC actively advocated for this bill throughout the legislative process in both the House and Senate for the last several years. AGC members generated hundreds of letters urging their representative and senators to support the bill. The bill incorporates a number of AGC priorities that the association has consistently advocated for throughout this process, including:

  • Establishing a sound procedure for authorizing new, high priority projects while deauthorizing obsolete ones;
  • Expending the full amount of revenues generated by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for harbor maintenance. The bill would do so by FY 2025 through gradually increasing the annual percentage spent on actual harbor maintenance;
  • Allowing more Inland Waterway Trust Fund revenues (about $100 million annually) to pay for projects aside from Olmsted Lock and Dam;
  • Improving the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) by including flexible in its loan terms, allowing lower interest rates, principle forgiveness, and extended repayment periods of 30 years. For more details, click here.
  • Creating a public-private partnership pilot program that will allow the USACE to leverage government funds with private dollars on public works under its jurisdiction;
  • Streamlining the project review process under the “3x3x3” program, which limits feasibility studies to 3 years and $3 million, while requiring the three levels of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—District, Division and Headquarters—to concurrently conduct reviews of such studies; and
  • Limiting the time environmental claims could be filed on water resources projects’ environmental impact statements from 6 to 3 years.

AGC will work closely with Congress and USACE to ensure this legislation is implemented properly and effectively for the construction industry.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
House Committee Approves Transportation Funding Bill
Assumes a HTF Fix in Fiscal Year 2015
 

This week, by a vote of 28-21, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2015 Transportation and Housing & Urban Development (THUD) spending bill.  The bill, which is the fourth of 12 spending bills to be approved by the committee, would provide $52 billion in funding for highways, transit aviation, rail and housing programs.  No date has been set for consideration of the bill by the full House.

In providing funding for federal-aid highway and transit programs, the committee made clear that investment levels provided by the THUD bill were contingent upon the reauthorization of MAP-21, as well as providing additional revenue for the Highway Trust Fund prior to Oct. 1, 2014.  Specific funding levels for transportation construction accounts in FY 2015 as compared to FY 2014 are:
              

                                                                            

FY 2014

FY 2015

Federal-Aid Highways

$40.3 B

$40.3 B

FTA Formula and Bus Grants 

$8.6 B

$8.6 B

FTA New Starts

$1.7 B

$1.9 B

FAA Airport Improvement Program

$3.35 B

$3.35 B

TIGER

$100 M

$600 M

AMTRAK 

$850 M

1.05 B


AGC will continue to work to ensure Congress fixes the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorizes MAP-21.   AGC members are encouraged to contact their representative and senators through ourHardhats for Highway grassroots campaign.  These issues will also be the focus of the Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-in June 10 11.

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

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Get Involved in Hardhats for Highways
Your Legislators Need to Hear from You
 

With a transportation bill beginning to move through the Senate, it is critical that you contact your legislators to educate them on the importance of supporting a highway bill and the affect it will have on your company and job if they do not. 

Set up meetings with your legislators in your state, or during the TCC Fly-In in Washington, D.C. on June 10-11, 2014.  Your Representative will be working in your district and available to meet with you starting tomorrow through May 27.  Your Senators will be available next week, May 26-30.  Find more information about setting up meetings with your members of Congress here. 

Please also take a moment to send e-Hardhat letters to your elected officials.  There are four separate letters available for you to send; we encourage you to continue to communicate with your legislators and send all four over the coming weeks.  Please also encourage your colleagues and employees to send e-Hardhat letters as well. More than 7,200 e-Hardhats have been sent to 411 congressional offices in 48 states.

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

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LABOR
Deal Reached on Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System
 

This week, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers announced they have reached a deal on advancing legislation that would reform the workforce development system. The bill, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIO),represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House in March 2013 on largely Republican support, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), which passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee with bipartisan support.

It is possible that the new legislation will be considered by the Senate in the coming weeks. It would then have to pass the House in order to become law. Information on the newly released bill includes:

AGC will review the legislation and its full impact on the construction industry. Additional AGC priorities on workforce issues can be found in the AGC Workforce Development Plan for the 21st Century.

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

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AGC Joins Coalition Letter Urging Congress to Reauthorize and Improve the Perkins Act
 

On May 21, AGC signed onto a letter along with a diverse group of 238 businesses, associations, and community groups, urging Congress to reauthorize and improve the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act). Reauthorizing and improving the Perkins Act will more effectively spend federal dollars, and ensure our nation’s students acquire the skills today’s employers are demanding.

The letter asks Congress to better align career and technical education programs with the labor market, encourage collaboration between education institutions and employers, and increase on-the-job learning though opportunities such as apprenticeships and promoting the use of industry recognized credentials.

AGC expects Congress to address Perkins legislation later this year and will continue to work with congressional leaders on the legislation.  Additional AGC priorities on workforce issues can be found in the AGC Workforce Development Plan for the 21st Century.

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

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PROCUREMENT REFORM
House Approves AGC Procurement Reform Measures in NDAA
Action Moves to Senate
 

This week, the House approved several AGC-supported procurement reform measures included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, H.R. 4435. The measures would help:

  • Prohibit reverse auctions for construction services;
  • Limit the second-step shortlist for design-build procurements to three to five finalists;
  • Promote greater accuracy, transparency and accountability in the reporting of contract bundling and consolidation;
  • Enable more small businesses to apply for and receive loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); and
  • Prevent fraud by providing financial certainty to assets that support individual surety.

AGC helped organize a coalition letter of 13 construction industry trade associations in support of the provisions and advocated for them throughout dozens of meetings with members of Congress and their staff. Action now moves to the Senate.

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

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AGC EVENTS
Limited Space Still Available at 2014 Federal Contractors Conference
June 10-12 | Mayflower Hotel| Washington, D.C.
 

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 construction projects coming down the pipe. 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 headquarters 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 learn more and register, go to www.agc.org/fedcon Return to Top

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Complimentary AGC Webinar: The Latest Trends in Military Construction and MATOCs
Wednesday, May 28 | 2:00 p.m. ET
 

Please join Bloomberg Government in partnership with AGC for a complimentary webinar on May 28 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time as we analyze the latest trends on major construction Multiple-Award Task Order Contracts (MATOCs) and review upcoming opportunities.

Topics will include:

  • Analysis of recent trends in military construction budgets;
  • A review of policy shifts in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) debate;
  • The latest developments on major construction MATOCS, including a focus on upcoming opportunities; and
  • An overview of Bloomberg Government’s Form 1391 Database.

For more information and to register for this NO COST event, click here. Return to Top

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2014 ELECTIONS
Tuesday’s Primary Results
 

The biggest night of the primary election season to date unfolded on Tuesday. Talk of possible upsets had been swirling around for weeks, but incumbents and front-runners in open seat races were the clear winners.

Arkansas

Neither of the two major party U.S. Senate candidates had primary opposition. What is expected to be a brutal contest between Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) is now officially underway.

In the Governor's race, both ex-Reps Asa Hutchinson (R-AR-3) and Mike Ross (D-AR-4) had little trouble securing their respective nominations. This campaign, too, will likely continue in the toss-up realm all the way to Election Day.

In the state's two open House races, businessman French Hill captured the Republican nomination with 55 percent of the vote. Mr. Hill will begin as a slight favorite over the uncontested Democratic nominee, Patrick Henry Hays, the former North Little Rock mayor. Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2), leaving the seat to run for Lt. Governor won the party nomination last night by securing an absolute majority. Griffin scored a solid 64 percent over two GOP opponents. He will face state Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter (D) in the general election.

Turning to Mr. Cotton's open 4th Congressional District, consensus candidate James Lee Witt (D) will face state House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman (R) in the general election. Expect this race to be competitive. Westerman defeated energy executive Tommy Moll 54-46 percent, despite being significantly outspent (almost 2:1).

Georgia

As late polling predicted, the GOP primary process is now coming down to a two-way contest between businessman David Perdue, who registered 30 percent, and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), who nipped former Secretary of State Karen Handel, 26-22 percent. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11) and Paul Broun (R-GA-10) registered only 10 percent apiece. The run-off winner will face Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn who captured her primary with 75 percent of the vote. The run-off promises to be a bruising affair. Both will be well funded, but the geographical focus will now shift to the Atlanta metro area, where more than 65% of the run-off votes will likely be cast.

Aside from the U.S. Senate contest, major competition occurred in five of the state's 14 congressional districts.

Beginning with Mr. Kingston's open 1st District, as predicted, state Sen. Buddy Carter and ex-Army Ranger Bob Johnson will advance to the July 22 run-off election. Carter placed first with 36 percent; Johnson was second, posting 23 percent. The winner will likely capture the seat in November, as the Democratic field is weak.

In the 4th District, incumbent Rep. Hank Johnson secured his Democratic re-nomination with a relatively close 54-46 percent win over DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown. Mr. Johnson is assured of re-election in the fall because he is unopposed in the general election.

Rep. Paul Broun's open seat also yielded a GOP primary that will result in the top two finishers advancing to the 7/22 run-off election. Baptist pastor and radio talk show host Jody Hice (R) led the pack with 33 percent, just 190 votes ahead of businessman Mike Collins, son of former Rep. Mac Collins (R-GA-3). The eventual Republican nominee faces attorney Ken Dious (D) in the general election, in a race that shouldn't be any contest for the GOP standard bearer.

Rep. Phil Gingrey's (R-GA-11) district will be filled either by state Sen. Barry Loudermilk or former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA-7). Both men qualified for the run-off by placing first and second in the field of six candidates. The Democrats did not even file a candidate here, so the July 22 run-off contest will select the next Congressman. Loudermilk was first with 37percent, as compared to Mr. Barr's 26 percent.

In the southeastern 12th District, businessman and former congressional candidate Rick Allen (past president of AGC Georgia) scored a major coup by impressively winning the Republican nomination outright with 54 percent of the vote against four opponents. Mr. Allen will now oppose veteran Rep. John Barrow (D) in what could become a close race.

Idaho

Gov. Butch Otter (R) found himself in a more difficult primary campaign than he may have expected, but still secured re-nomination with just a 53-42 percent win over Republican state Senator Russ Fulcher. The Governor will now face Boise School Board President A.J. Balukoff in the general election. Mr. Otter is a prohibitive favorite to win a third term.

In the House, in what to date has been the premier primary challenge to an establishment incumbent, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID-2) easily defeated attorney Bryan Smith 62-38 percent. With some of Smith's early national support pulling out of the race with several weeks to go, the battle became Simpson's to lose and he performed well. The Congressman will now face former Rep. Richard Stallings (D), who is attempting a comeback.

Kentucky

Also as expected, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell racked up a strong primary victory (60-35 percent) over investor Matt Bevin, and secures his Republican Senatorial nomination for the sixth time. However, with over a third of the GOP base supporting Bevin, Sen. McConnell will have to better secure his base before engaging the Democrats. Outside groups, such as the Senate Majority Fund and the Madison Project, among others, already announced that they will unify behind McConnell for the general election, which should go a long way to helping the Senator strengthen his base.

Mr. McConnell will now square off against Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who won her party's nomination with 77 percent of the vote, in what is expected to be a hard fought campaign. All polls project the pair within two points of one another. National trends will go a long way to deciding this race, considering McConnell's position as the top Senate Republican.

Oregon

The statewide races here are attracting the most attention, since the congressional campaigns do not appear competitive in November. In the U.S. Senate race, first-term incumbent Jeff Merkley (D) will face surgeon Monica Wehby, who defeated state Rep. Jason Conger and three other Republicans with 53 percent of the vote. The incumbent registered an overwhelming 93 percent in his Democratic primary.

If the Governor's race between three-term incumbent John Kitzhaber (D) and state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R) becomes competitive (Richardson took 65 percent in last night's primary against five GOP opponents), then the Senate race could also come into play.

Pennsylvania

The big Keystone State race nominated Democratic businessman Tom Wolf for Governor, as expected. He defeated Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13), state Treasurer Rob McCord, and former state EPA Director Katie McGinty by an overwhelming 58-17-17-8 percent, respectively. Mr. Wolf now becomes the favorite to unseat Gov. Tom Corbett (R), who is the most vulnerable Republican Governor in the country.

In the open 6th Congressional District, two consensus candidates in their respective parties, Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (R) and physician and two-time US House nominee Dr. Manan Trevedi (D) face each other in the politically marginal 6th Congressional District. Because Trevedi has already lost this district twice to retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach (R), Costello begins the general election in the favorite's position.

Eighth District Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R) will be challenged by former CIA analyst Kevin Strouse, who edged businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton 51-49 percent in the Democratic primary. Rep. Fitzpatrick is favored to retain his seat, but PA-8 is a marginal district and national political trends will play a major role in the outcome.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R) faced two Republican opponents, but neither was able to mount a serious individual challenge. Together, however, they captured 47percent of the vote. Mr. Shuster will easily secure re-election in November.

Freshman Rep. Keith Rothfus (R) will defend his seat for the first time against psychologist Erin McClelland, who won the Democratic nomination last night. The Congressman will be heavily favored for a second term.

In the hotly contested 13th District Democratic primary, for the right to succeed Rep. Allyson Schwartz who was defeated in the gubernatorial campaign, state Rep. Brendan Boyle was a huge winner, dashing any comeback hope that former Rep. Marjorie Margolies held. Boyle defeated Margolies by a 41-27 percent margin. Mr. Boyle will now have an easy run in November and come to Congress as a member of the freshman class in January.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-4733 or ashinoffd@agc.org Return to Top

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