Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 18, 2014
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On the Inside
2014 ELECTIONS
Mark Your Calendars: Employee Voter Registration Week
BUDGET
House Passes Temporary Funding Bill
Congressional Budget Office Predicts $506B Deficit for Fiscal 2014
TAX
Tax Outlook Headed into Fall Lame Duck Session
INFRASTRUCTURE
House Panel Releases Report on Public Private Partnerships
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Direct-Federal Construction Procurement Reform Expected After Election
House Passes VA Construction Bill
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Please Tell Us If You Are Having a Hard Time Finding Qualified Workers
2014 ELECTIONS
Mark Your Calendars: Employee Voter Registration Week
September 22-26, 2014
 

Next week is Employee Voter Registration Week (EVRW).  This national initiative is organized by the business community to encourage employee voter registration. When the employees of AGC member companies vote, the voices of the business community and construction industry are heard.

Your company is encouraged to participate. Becoming involved in this effort is as easy as notifying your colleagues about the 2014 EVRW initiative using the information provided in this toolkit. Feel free to copy, paste, and use this content as your own.

With more than 6 million individuals working in construction, our industry has a tremendous opportunity to impact the 2014 election. To be successful, it is critical you encourage your colleagues and employees to register to vote and then cast a ballot on or before Nov. 4.

Visit ConstructionVotes.com for more information.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org Return to Top

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BUDGET
House Passes Temporary Funding Bill
Senate Passage Expected Later This Evening
 

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a temporary funding measure to keep government operations running by a vote of 319-108.  The funding bill – known as a continuing resolution (CR) – will keep the government funded through Dec. 11 at current discretionary spending levels of $1.012 trillion.  As in other years, the bill prohibits the start of any new federal construction project. 

The CR is expected to be voted on and passed by the Senate this evening.  Following passage of the CR in the Senate, it is likely Congress will not return to Washington until after the November mid-term elections. 

AGC will continue to urge Congress to pass an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 when they return in December. 

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

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Congressional Budget Office Predicts $506B Deficit for Fiscal 2014
 

With just one month left in the federal fiscal year, the latest CBO budget forecast estimates the fiscal year 2014 deficit at $506 billion, which is about 26 percent less than last year. An improving economy has boosted tax revenues by almost eight percent and spending has been reduced by almost one percent. The deficit is significantly below the billion-plus annual deficits that existed from 2009-2012.  CBO forecasts about a $50 billion smaller deficit in 2015, but there may be an increase after that with the big drivers of the increase coming from the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org Return to Top

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TAX
Tax Outlook Headed into Fall Lame Duck Session
 

On Friday, the House is expected to pass H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act, which is a single jobs package assembled from a slate of bipartisan bills passed this Congress. On Wednesday, AGC sent a letter of support to the Speaker of the House encouraging members of Congress to support the common-sense package for the construction industry and American workers. This compilation bill will include: 

  • H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act – which repeals the 30-hour definition of full-time employment in the Affordable Care Act;
  • H.R. 367, Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act – which ensures that Congress votes on all new major rules before they can be enforced;
  • H.R. 4438, the American Research and Competitiveness Act – which makes the R&D Tax Credit permanent, paving the way for increased innovation and investment in the U.S.;
  • H.R. 4457, the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act – which makes section 179 expensing permanent ensuring that our small businesses have the certainty they need to grow their businesses and create jobs;
  • H.R. 4453, the S Corporation Permanent Tax Relief Act – which provides the necessary flexibility for S corporations to access capital and make new investments; and
  • H.R. 4718 – making bonus depreciation permanent in order to lower the cost of capital for businesses.

Meanwhile in the Senate, the vague and recommitted effort by Democrats to address corporate inversions has them proclaiming that the renewal of expired tax provisions will be tied to “clamping down on corporate tax inversions during the lame-duck congressional session.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) stated he is pushing for a bipartisan plan to address corporate tax inversions during the lame-duck congressional session, though committee Republicans do not appear to be on board.

The public should expect another push on anti-inversion legislation in the year-end debate to make some temporary tax breaks permanent, such as the R&D credit and Section 179 expensing.  However, a straight-line retroactive extension of expired provisions is expected to be the end result, thus setting up another concerted effort by a mix of new tax-writing chairman to advance comprehensive tax reform in the 114th Congress.

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

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INFRASTRUCTURE
House Panel Releases Report on Public Private Partnerships
 

Yesterday, the House Transportation & Infrastructure’s Panel on Public-Private Partnerships released their report on the state of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, and maritime infrastructure.  Ultimately, the panel found that P3 procurements have the potential to deliver certain projects more quickly or in a different manner than traditional procurement and financing measures, but cautioned they should not be thought of as the solution to overall infrastructure funding challenges.

The panel recommended improving public sector capacity to undertake P3s, breaking down the barriers to allow the federal government to more effectively enter into P3 agreements, and ensuring transparency and accountability between the public and private partners.  

AGC was very active in working with the panel and we are pleased to see many of the recommendations we provided in our letter and testimony in the report.  Some of these recommendations include: the creation of a transportation procurement office in the Department of Transportation to implement P3 best practices (including P3 model contracts); continuing the TIFIA program; and encouraging greater use of P3s for social infrastructure.

It is the committee’s intention to use the report as a resource as they take up various pieces of legislation next Congress – including a surface transportation reauthorization.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Direct-Federal Construction Procurement Reform Expected After Election
AGC Legislative Priorities Successfully Moving Through Congress
 

When Congress returns after the election, a host of AGC-supported, direct-federal construction procurement reforms could be passed in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill, which is considered must-pass legislation that funds the Department of Defense and has been enacted into law for the last 52 consecutive years.  The reforms include: (1) prohibiting reverse auctions for construction services; (2) reasonably limiting single-step design-build procurements; and (3) reasonably limiting second-step design-build finalists to three to five teams (4) preventing individual surety fraud; and (5) expanding small business loan opportunities.

These reforms were included in the House-passed NDAA bill in May, as a result of hundreds of AGC members contacting their representatives through the AGC Legislative Action Center. Although the Senate has not yet passed its version of the NDAA bill, AGC has also moved the ball forward in that chamber. AGC successfully organized a coalition of 14 construction industry trade associations that has collectively held over 50 meetings in the Senate on these issues. Furthermore, AGC members sent nearly 1,000 letters to Capitol Hill after the House passed the procurement reforms in May. As a result, several senators have also expressed interest in introducing amendments on these procurement reforms to the Senate NDAA bill after the election.

AGC members should stay tuned for procurement reform updates and AGC legislative action alerts during the months of November and December.

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

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House Passes VA Construction Bill
Corps would Supervise Certain VA Projects
 

On Sept. 16, the House passed a bill—H.R. 3593—that would assign the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as a “special project manager” on three major U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital projects in Denver, Orlando and New Orleans.

Introduced by Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), H.R. 3593 would confine USACE’s role on these three specific VA projects to:

  • Conducting oversight of all VA construction-related operations;
  • Advising and assisting the VA with all construction-related operations, including with timely change order approval; and
  • Conducting independent technical reviews of the VA projects.

Consequently, the VA and its staff would still continue to be the lead agency in charge of delivering the three projects. USACE would not be an active constructor, but rather an advisor on the projects with a duty to report on the VA’s progress.

The bill passed the House by unanimous voice vote. There is no bill like H.R. 3592 in the Senate. Further action on the bill is unclear.  

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

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WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Please Tell Us If You Are Having a Hard Time Finding Qualified Workers
Is Your Construction Company Facing Worker Shortages?
 

Since we conducted our first survey to gauge the extent of workforce shortages last Fall, we have heard from many of you that the labor market has only become tighter in the intervening 12 months as demand continues to grow for many types of construction in many parts of the country.  While it is clear that worker shortages are a growing concern, and in some cases a significant problem, for many contractors, we feel it is important to better quantify where these shortages are taking place, how severe they are, and what steps firms are taking to both cope with tight labor markers and improve the supply of new, qualified workers. That is why we are asking you to take a few minutes to complete the following workforce survey.

Please contact Brian Turmail if you have any questions or comments about the survey. He can be reached at (703) 837-5310 or turmailb@agc.org Return to Top

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