Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 19, 2014
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On the Inside
CONGRESS
Rep. Kevin McCarthy Elected as Next House Majority Leader
TRANSPORTATION
Gas Tax Increase Proposed in Senate
SMALL BUSINESS
SBA Increases Small Business Size Standards for Construction
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
USACE Civil Works FY 2015 Funding Increases in House & Senate Bills
AGC EVENTS
Multiemployer Pension Plan Reform Webinar
AGC FedCon Attendees Storm Capitol Hill
CONGRESS
Rep. Kevin McCarthy Elected as Next House Majority Leader
 

After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat last week, and his subsequent resignation as majority leader effective July 31, House Republicans held leadership elections today to elect Cantor’s successor.  Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – who currently serves as Majority Whip – was elected to be the next House majority leader. McCarthy is only serving his fourth term in Congress, making his the fastest rise to majority leader in American history.

With McCarthy’s victory, elections to fulfill the now-vacant Majority Whip position were also held.  Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was victorious, defeating Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Indiana conservative Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman for the spot.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
Gas Tax Increase Proposed in Senate
Finance Committee May Move Short-Term Patch; House Republicans Back Away from Postal Reform
 

The balance remaining in the Highway Trust Fund is projected to have insufficient revenue to pay states for ongoing construction activities within the next few weeks.  Today, Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation that would raise the gas tax – currently at 18.4 cents per gallon – and the diesel tax – at 24.4 cents per gallon – by 12 cents each, and then index the taxes to keep pace with inflation and help mitigate the insolvency of the trust fund. The increase would be phased-in over two years, raising 6 cents per year. Their plan calls for offsetting the tax increases by permanently extending six federal tax breaks that expired this year.

AGC supports the plan set forth by Senators Murphy and Corker.  A full statement from AGC CEO Steve Sandherr can be found here.

The Senate Finance Committee continues to discuss both short- and long-term Highway Trust Fund fixes.  Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has indicated that there is growing interest among members of his committee  to pass a six-month patch and then use that time to agree on a broader set of reforms and pay-fors to allow for a multiyear reauthorization of MAP-21.  

Also this week, House Republicans abandoned their plan to pay for an eight-month extension of MAP-21 with savings from reforms to the United State Postal Service. 

AGC continues to educate members of Congress about the necessity of avoiding disruptions in Highway Trust Fund payments this summer and the need to address the solvency of the trust fund to allow for a robust reauthorization of MAP-21.

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

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SMALL BUSINESS
SBA Increases Small Business Size Standards for Construction
 

On June 12, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued an interim final rule that increases a number of construction industry small business size standards to account for inflation since 2008.

The size standard for Commercial and Institutional Building Construction (NAICS Code 236220), as well as many of the Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction size standards (NAICS Subsector 237), will increase from $33.5 million to $36.5 million. The size standard for Specialty Trade Contractors under NAICS Subsector 238 will increase from $14 million to $15 million. To review the changes to construction small business thresholds, see page 33657 of the rule.

The SBA estimates that “this rule will enable approximately 8,500 firms in industries and subindustries to gain small business status.” The interim rule takes effect on July 14, 2014.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
USACE Civil Works FY 2015 Funding Increases in House & Senate Bills
Record Levels of Funding In House Bill
 

On June 18, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works program at the highest annual levels ever. The bill will provide $5.493 billion to USACE Civil Works accounts, which is $25 million above FY 2014 enacted spending levels and $959.5 million above the president’s budget request.  The bill provides $1.704 billion for water resources construction projects that provide for improvements to navigation, flood risk management, and ecosystem restoration in FY 2015 (a $48 million increase from last year). The president’s budget request, on the other hand, calls for an approximately $500 million cut to the construction projects. The bill will now move to the House floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development passed a bill that would fund USACE Civil Works programs at $5.134 million, almost $400 million below the House bill, but still well above the president’s budget request. The bill calls for $1.421 billion for water resources construction projects, $235 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $296 million above the president’s request. The bill also recommends $2.8 billion for operation and maintenance of water resources projects, including dredging projects, which is $61 million below the FY 2014 amount and $200 million above the fiscal year 2015 request. The full Senate Committee on Appropriations was supposed to take up the bill on June 19, but postponed doing so indefinitely to avoid votes on “amendments on climate change and the EPA’s proposed rule to extend federal jurisdiction over water.”

For information on which projects the House bill would fund, please see the House Report for more details. The full text of the Senate bill has not been released and it remains uncertain when or if the full committee vote will be rescheduled. 

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

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AGC EVENTS
Multiemployer Pension Plan Reform Webinar
 

AGC has scheduled a webinar for Monday, June 30 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET for the latest updates on Multiemployer Pension Plan reform. For nearly two years, the National Coordinating Committee of Multiemployer Plans, Retirement Review Security Commission developed draft recommendations for legislative and other changes to the current multiemployer pension plan system. The free AGC webinar will include presenters currently on the front lines of advocating for legislation based on the Commission’s recommendations. The discussion will include a recap of Solutions Not Bailouts, a legislative update, and action items needed from contractors and chapters to push our legislative recommendations across the finish line. The speakers will include AGC’s CEO and staff, a management attorney, as well as a Union representative, to allow participants to get a firsthand account of the progress and work to be done on the legislation.

To register for the event, please click here.

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

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AGC FedCon Attendees Storm Capitol Hill
 

AGC Federal & Heavy Construction Division members launched an all out offensive on the legislative front during last week’s Federal Contractors Conference in Washington, D.C. As part of a series of organized Capitol Hill visits, AGC members provided their federal elected officials information on a range of issues, including the proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to expand federal jurisdiction over wetlands, improving the construction workforce, and small business contracting reform.

In total, AGC coordinated more than 50 meetings with U.S. Representatives and Senators from both sides of the aisle to discuss these important issues. In addition, a few dozen members of congress stopped by the AGC townhouse reception during FedCon. AGC will continue to facilitate these essential meetings for its members to further the construction industry’s federal legislative agenda.

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

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