Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 15, 2015
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
House Republican Campaign Committee Slams Democrats for Thinking about Raising the Gas Tax
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Jones Act Repeal Legislation Introduced in Senate
AGC-Backed Legislation Opposing Government Mandated PLAs Introduced in Senate
TAX
AGC Financial Issues Committee Meeting Recap
Congressional Tax Panels Begin Discussions on Tax Reform in New Congress
ELECTIONS
Help AGC by Taking Our Brief 2014 Post-Election Survey
TRANSPORTATION
House Republican Campaign Committee Slams Democrats for Thinking about Raising the Gas Tax
 

Last week, the campaign arm of House Republicans – the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) – issued a press release claiming Democrats want to raise the gas tax.  Not only was the press release irresponsible, but it was inaccurate.  As the 114th Congress began last week, Democrats and Republicans jumped into the discussion of potential Highway Trust Fund solutions and members of both parties acknowledge that the need to keep all options on the table – including a gas tax increase.

The NRCC is a political organization that relies on financial donors to support the election of Republicans to the House of Representatives and AGC has supported their efforts in the past; however, this recent action will cause us to re-evaluate any future support.  We will continue to communicate our frustration to the NRCC leadership and we encourage any AGC members who have provided financial support to the NRCC to send them a strong message about playing politics with this Issue.

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
Jones Act Repeal Legislation Introduced in Senate
Support U.S. Marine Contractors & Oppose Sen. McCain’s Amendment
 

This week, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation that would repeal provisions of the Jones Act, which supports the American maritime industry including American marine construction contractors.  The Jones Act requires waterborne cargo between two points in the U.S. to be transported on American vessels. Compared to foreign maritime companies that receive direct subsidies from their respective governments, U.S. companies in the domestic trades succeed on their merits in the marketplace where competition is fierce. Moreover, repeal will also permit unfair competition from heavily subsidized foreign dredging contractors pursuing contracts to maintain and construct our domestic waterways, restore and armor our eroding coastlines, and all things related.

As such, Senator McCain’s legislation would open U.S. marine contractors to unfair, foreign competition. The legislation at issue comes in the form of an amendment to the Senate Keystone Pipeline bill, which that chamber could vote on as early as next week. Consequently, AGC urges you to take action by contacting your Senators and urging them to oppose the McCain Amendment #2 to the Senate Keystone Pipeline bill (S. 1).

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org Return to Top
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AGC-Backed Legislation Opposing Government Mandated PLAs Introduced in Senate
 

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) recently introduced the “Government Neutrality in Contracting Act” (S. 71) in the Senate. This legislation would prohibit federal contracting agencies from mandating that contractors and unions enter project labor agreements (PLAs) on direct federal projects. In addition, the bill would preserve the right of contractors and unions to voluntarily negotiate and execute project labor agreements on federal projects, if they so choose.

This AGC-supported legislation falls directly in line with the association’s position on such government mandated PLAs. Specifically, AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process. Visit AGC’s Legislative Action Center to write to your Senators urging their support of this legislation. AGC is working with members of the House to introduce the same bill in that chamber.  

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

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TAX
AGC Financial Issues Committee Meeting Recap
 

 

Last week, nearly 50 member company CFOs and other senior accounting professionals attended the AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Winter Meeting in Florida. Committee members were brought up to speed on FASB standards and IRS regulations, including recent tax court rulings by means of a tax discussion with John Armour, CBIZ MHM, and Timothy Wilson, BKD. Attendees heard from Cullen Walsh, FASB senior staff, about ongoing projects such as Lease Accounting and hot topics in IRS Examinations by Jeanne Wierman, IRS Construction Technical Advisor. An economic outlook was provided by Ken Simonson, AGC Chief Economist, and a discussion about the status of federal legislation and politics with Brian Lenihan of AGC and Dean Zerbe, Alliant Group National Managing Director, shed light on the ramifications of the elections on tax reform in the coming years.

The slides from the Winter Meeting are now available under the presentations tab on the AGC FIC page. The next meeting of the FIC will be the Winter Meeting held June 2015, in Colorado. Meeting and hotel information will be circulated in the coming weeks. The committee is geared toward member company CFOs, VPs of Finance, Controllers, Tax Directors and other senior accounting professionals – in which 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.

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

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Congressional Tax Panels Begin Discussions on Tax Reform in New Congress
 

On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee conducted its first hearing under new Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). The focus of the hearing was the macro view of the U.S. economy and the central tenets needed for sustained job creation, wages, and economic growth – policies under the jurisdiction of the committee needing reforms – taxes, international trade, and entitlement reforms.  During his remarks, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) highlighted the need to take advantage of low fuel prices to incrementally increase the federal tax on gasoline.

Later this month, Republican members of the panel are expected to huddle for a policy retreat to allow members input for the committee’s 2015 agenda and indoctrinate the new members of the committee. In related news, Chairman Ryan announced he would not seek a White House bid in 2016; instead, he will focus his energy on managing the tax panel and forwarding GOP solutions from that position.

Also this week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced the creation of five tax working groups “to spur congressional comprehensive tax reform efforts in the 114th Congress.” The five groups “will analyze current tax law and examine policy trade-offs and available reform options within the group’s designated topic areas,” work directly with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation staff to produce “in-depth analysis of options and potential legislative solutions within its assigned area.” This dynamic is similar to the approach of the House Ways & Means Committee took in the last Congress to produce a discussion draft on comprehensive reform of the tax code.

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

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ELECTIONS
Help AGC by Taking Our Brief 2014 Post-Election Survey
 

In preparation for Election Day 2014, thousands visited ConstructionVotes.com to access voter registration materials and Get-Out-the-Vote resources. AGC of America thanks you for your efforts in helping to encourage colleagues, family members and friends to register to vote and vote on Election Day.

Although November 8, 2016, is 662 days away, there will be several gubernatorial elections this year, as well as a few congressional special elections.  To build upon the success of the Construction Votes website, we need your input to make it even better.

Please take this brief survey to help us enhance your experience on ConstructionVotes.com.

If you have any questions, please contact David Ashinoff at ashinoffd@agc.org or (202) 547-5013. Return to Top

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