Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 26, 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
TAKE ACTION: Tell EPA How Their Rule Affects Your Business
Comment on Massive Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction in “Waters of the U.S.” Proposed Rule
LABOR
AGC Supported Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System Passes Senate
Supreme Court Victory in Challenge to NLRB "Recess Appointments"
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Finance Committee Delays Vote on Highway Trust Fund Patch
Hardhats for Highways: Set Up Meetings with Your Reps Next Week
AGC EVENTS
AGC Financial Issues Forum Recap
2014 ELECTIONS
Key Results from Tuesday’s Primary Elections
TAKE ACTION: Tell EPA How Their Rule Affects Your Business
Comment on Massive Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction in “Waters of the U.S.” Proposed Rule
 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released their notice of proposed rulemaking redefining “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This rule expansively defines waters - claiming traditionally navigable waters, tributaries (including ditches), impoundments, adjacent waters (including waters in the floodplain or riparian areas), and “other waters” all as federally jurisdictional. More projects will have to obtain Section 404 permits, increasing the time and cost of performing construction services. 

In addition to the Section 404 impacts, many other federal permits will be required. Under the proposal, many other parts of the CWA are affected by the definition of “waters of the U.S.,” such as Section 311 Oil Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures or Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permits, which are triggered by many types of construction activities across the nation and will therefore have a direct and significant impact on construction operations. EPA also chose to not wait for a final peer review of their Connectivity Report, touted as the basis of the proposed rule, by the EPA’s own Science Advisory Board. The economic analysis that EPA has undertaken seriously underestimates impacted acreage and completely ignores impacts to non-404 programs as well. Recognizing that state and local governments are managing water resources that are not under federal control, it is unclear why the agencies rushed through these important procedural steps designed to ensure that construction companies are protected.

With the extension of the open comment period to Oct. 20, AGC is encouraging its members to use our template letter in the Regulatory Action Center to help craft their comments to EPA and the Corps on the agencies’ proposal.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
LABOR
AGC Supported Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System Passes Senate
 

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by a vote of 95-3. This bipartisan legislation will streamline the workforce development system, giving states greater flexibility to address worker shortages and strengthening employer engagement. AGC urged Senators to support the bill and marked it as a key vote.

AGC supports the WIOA because it refocuses federally funded workforce training towards in-demand occupations, in-demand skills, real-world job opportunities, and real-time business needs that help prepare workers for jobs in construction. The bill would give priority consideration to training that leads to industry-recognized credentials. It also offers significantly enhanced incentives and opportunities for employers and employer associations to engage more actively. Lastly, the bill strengthens registered apprenticeship programs.

This legislation now moves to the House where it is expected to be considered in the next couple of weeks. Please take a minute to send a letter of support to your Representative by using the AGC Legislative Action Center.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Supreme Court Victory in Challenge to NLRB "Recess Appointments"
 

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a case challenging the validity of three “recess appointments” President Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January 2012.  The court ruled unanimously that President Obama violated the Recess Appointments Clause of the Constitution. The case was challenged with the help of the AGC-supported Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The decision will affect the status of hundreds of cases that were deemed to have been decided by invalid board members of the NLRB.

The Board is expected to now reconsider those cases, along with potentially reconsidering other acts, such as appointments of regional directors and other NLRB officials that were taken during this time. AGC will be analyzing the decision and will keep you updated on the impact of today’s decision.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Finance Committee Delays Vote on Highway Trust Fund Patch
House Ways & Means Committee to Release Plans in Early July
 

Today, the Senate Finance Committee had planned to hold a markup of Chairman Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.) $9 billion Highway Trust Fund patch.  However, at the request of ranking Republican member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chairman Wyden suspended the markup to allow Republicans more time to develop alternatives to his proposal.  Republicans remained focused on finding spending cuts to offset the patch and would like more time to negotiate with Democrats to forge a bipartisan compromise.  The second part of the markup  may happen the week of July 7.

Although the markup did not include any votes or debate on amendments, it did incorporate modifications to Wyden's original proposal, including several changes sought by Republicans.

AGC and our colleagues in the Transportation Construction Coalition and the Americans for Transportation Mobility sent a letter urging that the committee act in a bipartisan manner to address the upcoming Highway Trust Fund insolvency.

Also this week, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) announced that his committee will move forward on their Highway Trust Fund fix after the July 4 Congressional recess.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Hardhats for Highways: Set Up Meetings with Your Reps Next Week
Report Meetings and Share Pictures at www.HardhatsforHighways.org
 

Your Senators and Representatives will be back working in your home districts next week, June 30 - July 1.  Please take this opportunity to set up meetings with your members of Congress to discuss the importance federal highway funding has on your company and your job.  Please continue to make contact with your Congressional offices by setting up in-person meetings and sending “e-Hardhat” letters. Encourage your employees to send “e-Hardhat” letters as well. 

Your involvement is critical to the success of this campaign and getting Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund.  Get involved. To date, Hardhats for Highways has already distributed more than 23,000 hardhat decals to construction companies in 43 states. More than 8,600 “e-Hardhat” letters have been sent to 437 different Congressional offices in 48 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 EVENTS
AGC Financial Issues Forum Recap
 

Last week, nearly 40 member company CFOs and other senior accounting professionals attended the AGC Financial Issues Forum (FIF) Summer Meeting in Washington, D.C. Forum members were brought up to speed on the recently released Revenue Recognition Accounting Standard Update and had a tax discussion with Congressman James Renacci (R-Ohio), a CPA and member of the congressional tax-writing committee.

On day one of the forum, attendees focused most of the day on the new accounting standard:

With detail presentation & discussion on how the standard will affect construction companies by John Armour, CBIZ MHM; and member of the FASB Transition Resource Group

Update on Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) ongoing projects such as lease accounting by Cullen Walsh, FASB senior staff

  • An economic outlook by Bernard Markstein, U.S. Chief Economist, Reed Construction Data
  • On day two, FIF members turned their attention to tax issues faced by the industry:
  • A discussion on construction tax issues including recent tax court rulings by John Armour, CBIZ MHM
  • Presentation on the State of the Surety Industry by David Finkelstein, Arch Insurance Group
  • A tax policy dialogue regarding  recently published legislative drafts and future congressional action on expired tax provisions by Brian Lenihan, AGC Congressional Relations staff
  • A discussion about the status of legislation and politics with Ways & Means Committee member Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio)
  • Presentation on AGC’s new Private Health Care Exchange by AGC and Willis

The slides from the Summer Meeting are now available under the presentations tab on the meeting page – AGC FIF Summer Meeting.

The next meeting of the FIF will be the Winter Meeting held Jan. 8-9, 2015, in Florida. Meeting and hotel information will be circulated in the coming weeks. The forum is geared toward member company CFOs, VPs of Finance, Controllers, Tax Directors and other senior accounting professionals – in which forum attendees have an opportunity to learn as well as formulate positions on tax and accounting matters that directly affect the bottom line and operations of AGC member companies of all sizes and specialties. Over the next months, AGC will highlight the work of FIF members and the need for construction companies to prepare for the new Revenue Recognition Accounting Standard Update.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
2014 ELECTIONS
Key Results from Tuesday’s Primary Elections
 

While there were some big surprises in this week’s primaries and special elections, the biggest surprise was Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) come-from-behind victory in the Mississippi run-off.  The battle over the Senate will be fought by a Republican Party that saw strong general election candidates win in all Senate primaries. Conservative groups spent millions to beat Republicans (for instance the Club for Growth spent almost $4 million against Republicans this year while spending less than $900,000 against Democrats) but had little impact on the election outcomes thus far. Check below for a state-by-state breakdown of the results.

With the exception of run-offs in Alabama (7/15), Georgia (7/22) and North Carolina (7/15), primary elections now take a hiatus for the month of July. They start back up on August 5 in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

Colorado

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez won the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday night, scoring a 30-27-23-20 percent win over former Rep. Tom Tancredo, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp. Beauprez will challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) this November.

In the congressional races, Weld County District Attorney and 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Ken Buck won the Republican nomination in Rep. Cory Gardner's seat (Gardner is running for Senate). Buck defeated state Sen. Scott Renfroe, Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and former Cranston, RI mayor Steve Laffey to become the party nominee in November.

Elsewhere, Rep. Scott Tipton (R) easily won his re-nomination primary, while incumbent Doug Lamborn (R) barely beat former General Bentley Rayburn, 53-47 percent. Both Congressmen are heavy favorites to win their respective general elections.

Florida

With just under 100,000 votes being cast, the final pre-November special election was held last night in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers district. GOP businessman Curt Clawson won in convincing fashion, 67-29 percent, against public relations executive April Freeman (D). Rep-elect Clawson succeeds resigned-Rep. Trey Radel (R) and will be sworn into office later this week. He now must begin campaigning immediately for a full term. Clawson will again face Freeman in the fall.

Maryland

As expected, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown easily won the Democratic primary for Governor (51-24-22 percent) against Attorney General Doug Gansler and state Delegate Heather Mizeur. Brown began as the early favorite to replace term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). He is expected to win in November over perennial Republican nominee Larry Hogan and become the state's first African American governor.

Mississippi

Defying all pollsters' projections, veteran Sen. Thad Cochran rebounded after failing to capture a majority of the vote in the June 3 primary election to win the Mississippi run-off campaign. State Sen. Chris McDaniel came within a staggering one-half percent of claiming the Republican nomination in the primary vote, but failed to capitalize on his early momentum.

Virtually all published polling projected the 42-year congressional veteran to be falling significantly behind his Tea Party-backed Republican challenger. Yet, the actual results gave the incumbent a 51-49 percent victory. Cochran will now face former Rep. Travis Childers (D) in the general election. With Sen. Cochran now on the general election ballot, Childers' chances are dim.

New York

In the Harlem district, veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) won his quest for a 23rd term in office, an election cycle in which the veteran says will be his last. Rep. Rangel defeated state Senator Adriano Espaillat 47-44 percent in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Last night's vote is the determining factor in this district. The general election will only be a pro forma affair.

Elsewhere in New York, state Sen. Lee Zeldin defeated wealthy attorney George Demos for the opportunity of challenging potentially vulnerable Rep. Tim Bishop (D). The Congressman had a close call in 2010 (a 48.7-48.4 percent victory over Republican Randy Altschuler). Another contentious midterm is possible.

In the open 4th District, as expected, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice won the Democratic congressional primary, topping Nassau County legislator Kevan Abrahams, 56-44 percent. Ms. Rice will win the general election and replace retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D).

Former White House aide Elise Stefanik defeated Matt Doheny – who ran in 2010 and 2012 as an Independent – to become the Republican nominee for retiring Rep. Bill Owens’ (D) seat. This could mean another dangerous three-way election ensues, the type that has thrown the seat to Democrats since then-Rep. John McHugh (R) resigned in 2009 after becoming U.S. Army Secretary. The Democratic nominee Aaron Woolf was unopposed for his party's nomination.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R) won a close GOP nomination campaign (53-47 percent) over state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. However, despite Tenney receiving the Conservative Party endorsement, this race will not continue onto the general election as Tenney failed to return the requisite number of valid petitions to secure a spot on the ballot. Neither the Democrats nor the Working Families Party filed a candidate in this district.

Oklahoma

Rep. James Lankford (R) finished strong with a 57-34 percent victory over former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon to secure the Republican nomination for Senate. Lankford will coast to a general election victory in November.

In Rep. Lankford's open 5th Congressional District, businessman Steve Russell came from well back to secure the first run-off position. He will face state Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas in an August 26 election. The district's Republican voting history makes the eventual GOP nominee the prohibitive favorite for November.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or ashinoffd@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.