Bipartisan Support for Transportation Funding in House
Ask Your Reps to Sign Letter through Hardhats for Highways
a gas tax increase in the lame duck was declared dead this week by Senators Tom
Carper (D-Del.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), there was some positive news with
four members of the House circulating a bipartisan letter in
support of transportation funding.
letter, authored by Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Members Reid
Ribble (R-Wis.) and Dan Lipinksi (D-Ill.), along with Ways & Means
Committee Members Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), seeks to build
momentum and send a message to Republican and Democrat House leaders that
passing a multiyear transportation reauthorization bill with a sustainable
funding source is a high priority going into the 114th Congress. The letter calls for an end to the cycle of
short-term extensions of transportation funding. It is supported by a
wide variety of stakeholders all of whom are encouraging all members
of the House to sign on.
is working closely with Representatives Ribble, Lipinski, Reed and Pascrell and
leading the efforts of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) in asking
all members of the House to sign the letter.
encourage all AGC chapters and members to contact their Representative and urge
them to sign on through our Hardhats for
information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AGC Advances Legislative Priorities in Defense Bill
Design-Build and Reverse Auction Reforms Move Forward
2, the House and Senate Armed Services released the final version of the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA) bill, which
includes AGC-supported provisions on design-build and reverse auction procurement
reform impacting Department of Defense construction contractors. The bill was considered by the House yesterday
and is expected to be considered by the Senate later this week or early next
week. Reports indicate that this bill will likely be enacted before Congress
adjourns this year.
design-build procurement, the bill would limit the shortlist in the
two-phase design-build process to no more than 5 finalists on DOD agency
contracts exceeding $4 million (see Section 814 of the bill). In the event
a contract officer (CO) would like to include more than five finalists in the
two-phase design-build process, that CO would: (1) have to provide written
documentation of how exceeding five finalists is consistent with the purposes
and objectives of the two-phase selection procedures; and (2) obtain the
approval of the head of the agency contracting activity, i.e., the commanding
general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or commanding Rear Admiral of the
Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
reverse auctions, the bill would explicitly prohibit reverse auction
procurement for design-build construction services on military construction
contracts (see Section 824 of the bill). In addition,
the bill would place restrictions on single bidder reverse auctions through DOD
of these provisions will be effective the day the president signs the NDAA bill
into law. However, the reforms will require Defense Federal Acquisition
Regulation Supplement (DFARS) changes. As a result, two DFARS cases will likely
open to implement these provisions. In the event a DFARS reverse auction case
is opened, AGC will push DOD to completely prohibit the procurement of
construction services through reverse auctions.
has pressed for design-build reform and the prohibition of reverse auctions for
construction services throughout this
and will continue to press for their final enactment. While these provisions
are a positive step forward, AGC will continue to advocate for further reform
in the new Congress in 2015 that address the entire federal government.
information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or email@example.com.
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House Sends One-Year Extension of Expired Policies to Senate
Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 5771, the “Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014,” by a 378 – 46 vote. The $41.6 billion tax extenders legislation restored
approximately 52 expired tax provisions for fiscal year 2014, including nine AGC tax
priorities (i.e. 179 expensing, bonus depreciation, R&D).
Senate is expected to address the bill by the middle of next week. Opposition
from the White House and Democratic Senators dashed the prospect of a two-year
plan in late November, which led House Republican leadership to the vote on the
one-year package. On Nov. 19, AGC sent a letter to members
of Congress laying out the provisions critical to the construction industry. AGC will continue to press for permanency of
the provisions during the tax debate in the coming months of the new 114th
information, please contact Brian Lenihan at (202) 547-4733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House Passes Fuel Tax Increase for Inland Waterways
Supports Increased Investment in Lock & Dam Infrastructure
On Dec. 3, the House of Representatives passed a provision that would increase
a fuel tax that benefits inland waterway lock and dam construction and
maintenance projects. The provision would raise the fuel tax from 20 cents to
29 cents per gallon on barges using the inland waterway system. This
excise tax revenue is deposited into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The tax
increase would be effective for fuel used after April 1, 2015.
provision was included in H.R. 647, the ABLE Act, a bill providing for tax
incentives for individuals with disabilities. Action now moves to the Senate,
where 74 senators are listed as cosponsors that support the ABLE Act.
fully supports increasing this user fee to improve lock and dam infrastructure
on our nation’s inland waterways.
For more information, please contact Jimmy
Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or email@example.com.
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EPA Proposes Tighter Ozone Air Quality Standards
years of delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on
Nov. 26 that it is proposing to strengthen the federal ozone air quality
standards to within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb), while taking
comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. The current ozone standard, set in
2008, is at 75 ppb.
proposal would greatly increase the number of counties that face
“nonattainment” — thereby triggering the formation of state implementation
plans (SIPs) to reduce ozone emissions. EPA maps show
that 358 counties would violate a 70 ppb standard, based on 2011-2013
monitoring data. An additional 200 counties would violate a 65 ppb
standard, raising the total to 558 counties. (To see an EPA map of the
areas/counties out of compliance with the current 2008 ozone standard, click here.)
groups have billed the new ozone proposal the most expensive regulation ever;
the National Association of Manufacturers has put the costs at $270 billion a year. However, by law, EPA must set the air quality standard based on what the best
science says is safe to breathe, and not on how much it will cost to get there.
(The law provides for cost considerations in other areas of implementing
pollution rules.) Still, EPA said the economic benefits would outweigh the
costs by a wide margin.
companies will feel the effects of tighter ozone limits, mainly via
restrictions on equipment emissions in areas with poor air quality, as well as
additional controls on industrial facilities and planning requirements for
transportation-related sources (indirect impact). Notably, nonattainment
counties that are out of compliance with CAA ozone standards could have federal
highway funds withheld.
EPA also proposed to set the secondary ozone standard, a limit that is meant to
protect plants and other environmental attributes, at the same level. EPA will
seek public comment on the proposal for 90 days following publication in the
Federal Register, and the agency plans to hold three public hearings. EPA will
issue final ozone standards by Oct. 1, 2015.
can also view the proposal, or read AGC’s
latest Federal Air
Quality Standards Update.
For more information, please contact Leah Pilconis
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OFCCP Announces Final Rule on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
On Dec. 3, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract
Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced final regulations implementing Executive Order 13672
(EO). The EO prohibits federal contractors with contracts of $10,000 or
more, and their subcontractors, from engaging in employment discrimination on
the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity. The final rule will take
effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register and will apply to
federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date.
The EO was signed by President Obama on July 21, 2014. It
requires federal contracting agencies to include “sexual
orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited
bases of discrimination under the Equal Opportunity Clause mandated by
Executive Order 11246. The final rule solidifies this requirement, but
does not require contractors to collect any information about applicants’ or
employees’ sexual orientation or gender identity.
All employers, whether engaged in government contracting or not,
should note that both the OFCCP and the EEOC had already adopted the position
that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or transgender status is a
form of sex discrimination prohibited by Executive Order 11246 and Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
For more information on the OFCCP’s new final rule, visit www.dol.gov/ofccp/LGBT.
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Louisiana Voters Head Back to the Polls Saturday
congressional races will be decided in Louisiana this Saturday. Voters head
back to the polls because the state employs the jungle primary system. On Nov.
4, all candidates appeared on the same primary ballot regardless of political
party affiliation. Since no candidate in three races received an outright
majority of the vote, no one was elected. As a result, the top two finishers in
each race now advance to a final run-off election.
the U.S. Senate race, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) is expected to defeat three-term
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). A recent poll had the Congressman leading by
double-digits, 53-38 percent. With both political parties ending their media
advertising and the intangibles cutting against Ms. Landrieu since the run-off
began, it appears that Mr. Cassidy is headed for victory. Should he be
successful, the new Senate will divide 54 Republicans to 46 Democrats.
5th District finds a battle between Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo (D) and physician
Ralph Abraham (R), a first-time candidate. They both out-paced scandal-plagued
Rep. Vance McAllister (R), who finished a poor fourth. Given the districts
Republican leaning, an Abraham win is expected.
Down in the 6th District, former chairman of
Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Garret Graves (R) has
opened up a huge 61-35 percent advantage over former four-term Governor and
Congressman Edwin Edwards (D). The latter also served eight years in federal
prison on bribery and racketeering charges. The district is heavily Republican,
so Graves is expected to defeat the former governor.
Should these two races go to Republicans as
expected, the new House breakdown will be 246 Republicans to 188 Democrats. It
would give the GOP its largest majority since World War II.
information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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No President Portman in 2016
Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that he would not seek the
presidency in 2016, and will instead run for re-election.
a released statement, he said, "With the new Republican majority, I see a
real opportunity over the next two years to break the gridlock in Washington
and actually get things done to help Ohioans and all Americans. That's where I
believe I can play the most constructive role. I don't think I can run
for president and be an effective senator at the same time.”
the last few elections, Mr. Portman has played Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John
Edwards and Barack Obama in the debate prep for the GOP presidential and vice
presidential nominees. It is rumored that he was also on the VP
shortlist for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.).
Mr. Portman would likely be considered again for the #2 spot, but he has stated
that he would prefer to not be considered for the job. That doesn’t mean
the next nominee won’t have him high on his or her list.
returning to Congress, Mr. Portman served as President George W. Bush's
Director of the Office of Management and Budget after a short stint as the administration's
U.S. Trade Representative. Before that, the Senator was elected to six
terms in the House of Representatives. For more information, please contact David
Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or email@example.com.
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Help AGC of America Craft the 2015 Annual Outlook
Take the Survey Today
Each year around this time, AGC asks you – our members – to predict what next
year will be like for your business. Questions focus on expectations for
market performance, hiring, labor market conditions, plans to acquire
equipment, etc. Please take a moment to complete the survey here. We will spend
the rest of November and the better part of December asking members to complete
the survey. After that we will work with AGC’s chief economist Ken
Simonson to analyze the results, which we will release in early January to the
media and members. As in the past, we will also prepare state-specific outlooks
for every state where we have a sufficiently robust response.
advance for all your help and support, and please contact Brian Turmail at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
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