Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 20, 2014
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On the Inside
APPROPRIATIONS
AGC Weighs In On Funding Bill
IMMIGRATION
President Obama to Take Executive Action on Immigration
LABOR
PBGC Releases Annual Report Detailing Record Deficit for Multiemployer Pension Plans, AGC Calls on Congress to Act
TAX
AGC Advocates for Swift Renewal of Key Tax Extenders
House Selects Lead Tax Writers to Chair Committees
Early Bird Registration Ends Tomorrow for AGC Financial Issues Winter Meeting
TRANSPORTATION
New House Transportation Appropriations Chairman
APPROPRIATIONS
AGC Weighs In On Funding Bill
 

This week, AGC sent a letter to members of the House and Senate urging passage of an omnibus appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2015.  In order to avoid a government shutdown Congress must pass another continuing resolution (CR) – which provides fiscal year 2014 funding levels – or an omnibus bill which would wrap up the 12 unfinished appropriations bills for FY 2015 before the expiration of the current CR on Dec. 11.   

As negotiations continue between the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, it is not clear what path Congressional leaders will take on the end of the year funding bill.   House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other party leaders are still discussing options ranging from an omnibus to more stopgap measures.   The president’s plan to issue an executive order on immigration continues to generate calls for passage of a short-term CR in order to preserve leverage over the president when Republicans take control of both the House and Senate. However, any effort to block execution of the president’s executive order would likely only deal with funding for a single agency and there is some doubt about the ability of Congress to stop the executive order using a spending bill.

AGC will continue to push Congress to act on an omnibus appropriations bill that will, among other things, end the prohibition of new project starts scheduled for federal infrastructure and facility construction projects.

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

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IMMIGRATION
President Obama to Take Executive Action on Immigration
 

President Obama is expected to announce details on his immigration executive action this evening that would, among other provisions, suspend deportation orders for millions of unauthorized immigrants and allow them to legally work in the U.S. if they have lived here for at least five years and came here as a child. The proposal offers partial, short-term, temporary relief, but fails to address the broken immigration system, the very system that allowed millions of unauthorized immigrants to become stranded in the U.S. Because the plan being announced by the White House does not address less-skilled foreigners, Congressional Republicans are already looking at ways to defund and override what they view as an abuse of presidential power. 

AGC has long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, the 2013 Senate-passed bipartisan, comprehensive legislation generally met AGC’s priorities for reform. However, the House failed to act and chose a piecemeal strategy that never fully materialized. It had been AGC’s hope that Congress could again attempt to address immigration reform in 2015. Tonight's action doom any action by Congress next year. 

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

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LABOR
PBGC Releases Annual Report Detailing Record Deficit for Multiemployer Pension Plans, AGC Calls on Congress to Act
 

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued its 2014 annual report this week and the report detailed a record deficit for the multiemployer pension program of $42.4 billion. The deficit is a fivefold increase from 2013 and can be attributed to several large plans expected to go insolvent, including the massive Central States pension fund. The report also details that an additional 200 plans are in trouble.

The Partnership for Multiemployer Retirement Security, a business and labor initiative supporting multiemployer pension reforms which AGC is a leader of, issued a statement that the PBGC annual report underscores the urgency for Congress to act in the near term on Solutions Not Bailouts to provide retirement security for millions and economic security for businesses involved in multiemployer pensions. The Solutions Not Bailouts proposal would give pension plans and stakeholders the tools necessary to modernize, thrive and for the small, but significant minority of multiemployer plans facing insolvency, to address structural problems and, hopefully, recover.  The PBGC report, showing the deficit and insufficient resources in the multiemployer fund, underscores that time is of the essence and that fast action by Congress could mean the difference between insolvency and solvency for many of these at-risk plans.

With only a few remaining weeks of this Congress, AGC and stakeholders continue to advocate that Congress needs to act now. While enacting wholesale reforms to the system remains an uphill battle, the stakes are to great and employers and employees cannot wait until another Congress acts. Send a letter to your legislators via the AGC Legislative Action Center in support of pension reform.

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

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TAX
AGC Advocates for Swift Renewal of Key Tax Extenders
 

On Wednesday, AGC sent a letter to all members of Congress asking them to retroactively renew, expand and extend a number of important tax provisions for the construction industry as part of a comprehensive tax package. During this lame duck session, Congress is expected to address renewing approximately 60 expired provisions, retroactively for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and possibly prospectively for FY 2015.

AGC will continue to encourage members of Congress to support pro-growth policies as they consider a comprehensive tax package.

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

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House Selects Lead Tax Writers to Chair Committees
 

This week, House Republicans selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as the next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.  Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) will succeed him as House Budget chair, who will have jurisdiction over a budget blueprint for tax reform and any budget reconciliation legislation. Republicans also approved a conference rule for the 114th Congress that will require committee chairmen running for another office to hand over their gavel – yet there is an exception that allows for a chairman to petition for a waiver from the rule. Republicans won't decide subcommittee chairpersons until January.

Chairman Ryan spoke to the Wall Street Journal yesterday on the president’s executive action on immigration reform and working with the president on reforming the tax code saying, “If the president chooses to pre-empt congressional authority, it’s clear to us he’s choosing polarization and politics, and focusing on 2016….He’s going to chew up a lot of time, blow a lot of political capital [and] take relations with Congress to a new low.” According to the Washington Post, “Ryan declined to say whether he would try to advance tax legislation without White House cooperation. But he left the door open when asked whether he would follow the lead of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has expressed a new willingness to set aside efforts to overhaul the individual tax code and focus on reforming tax laws for businesses, where there is more hope of bipartisan agreement. McConnell invited Obama to negotiate on business tax reform after Republicans consolidated their hold on Congress earlier this month.”

Committee leaders in the Senate will be decided sometime next month, once Republican-Democratic committee ratios are determined following a Dec. 6 runoff election in Louisiana. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is widely accepted as the incoming chairman and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would assume the ranking member role.

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

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Early Bird Registration Ends Tomorrow for AGC Financial Issues Winter Meeting
 

The AGC Financial Issues Forum (FIF) Winter Meeting will be held January 8-9, 2015 in Longboat Key, FL.  Early Bird Registration ends tomorrow, Nov. 21. Speakers added to the winter agenda include: Jeanne Wierman, IRS Construction Technical Advisor; Dean Zerbe from alliantgroup talking on taxes; and John Armour from CBIZ MHM LLC speaking about FASB issues. 

The meeting is geared toward AGC member company CFOs, Treasurers, Finance Directors, Controllers, Tax Directors and other senior accounting professionals. Members 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. Current FIF projects include helping construction companies to prepare for the new Revenue Recognition Accounting Standard Update that goes into effect in 2017, dealing with tax extenders and tax reform.

The meeting centers around discussions with FASB reps, congressional representatives, practitioners, and financial officer breakout groups on topics including internal controls, project performance reviews and using technology like Box.com in operations or accounting functions. Attendees also have an opportunity to network and discuss a wide variety of topics, including: audit issues faced by construction companies; congressional action on tax policy; and an economic outlook for the industry.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
New House Transportation Appropriations Chairman
 

Today, the House Republican Steering Committee approved new subcommittee chairmen for the 114th Congress.  The only change of particularly interest to AGC is on the Transportation, Housing & Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee where Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) takes over the chairmanship from Representative Tom Latham (R-Iowa), who is retiring from Congress.

In a statement released by the incoming chairman, he expressed that he looks forward to solving our nation’s transportation issues and “prioritizing transportation initiatives that improve our local communities.” 

AGC looks forward to working with Representative Diaz-Balart to ensure the subcommittee identifies, prioritizes, and adequately addresses federal construction investments.

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

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