Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 22, 2015
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On the Inside
HARDHATS FOR HIGHWAYS
One Week Left to Ask Your Rep to Sign the Bipartisan House Transportation Funding Letter
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Opposes Jones Act Repeal Legislation in Senate
AGC Opposes NAVFAC-Mandated PLA
ADMINISTRATION
State of the Unions Draws Lines between Parties
ENVIRONMENT
EPA Release Final Version of Science Report on Connectivity of Waters
HARDHATS FOR HIGHWAYS
One Week Left to Ask Your Rep to Sign the Bipartisan House Transportation Funding Letter
Visit www.HardhatsforHighways.org Today
 

Time is running out for members of the House to sign the bipartisan 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.), and commit to supporting transportation funding initiatives.  The deadline to sign is January 30.

Thank you to those AGC members who have already contacted their representative and asked them to sign the letter. As of this afternoon, 173 House members have agreed to sign the letter that seeks to build momentum and send a message to Republican and Democrat House leaders that passing a multi-year transportation reauthorization bill with a sustainable funding source is a high priority in the 114th Congress.  The letter calls for an end to the cycle of short-term extensions of transportation funding.

AGC is working closely with Representatives Ribble, Lipinski, Reed and Pascrell, while leading the efforts of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) in asking all members of the House to sign the letter. 

We encourage all AGC chapters and members to contact their representative and urge them to sign on through our Hardhats for Highways campaign.  If your representative has already agreed to sign the letter, a thank you letter will be generated for you to send.

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

This week, AGC sent a letter to the Senate opposing an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline bill (S. 1) proposed by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would repeal provisions of the Jones Act, which supports the American marine construction industry.   The Senate is considering over 75 amendments to the Keystone bill this week and next.

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 which maintain and construct our domestic waterways, restore and armor our eroding coastlines, and all things related.  Senator McCain’s legislation would open U.S. marine contractors to unfair, foreign competition.

As such, 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.

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

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AGC Opposes NAVFAC-Mandated PLA
 

Recently, AGC sent a letter opposing the possible use of a project labor agreement (PLA) mandate posted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest for a design-build project for construction of Special Operations Forces Support Activity Operations Facility at the U.S. Navy’s Silver Strand Training Complex in Imperial Beach, Calif.

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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ADMINISTRATION
State of the Unions Draws Lines between Parties
 

President Obama delivered his sixth state of the union speech on Tuesday. It highlighted the divisions between Republicans and Democrats, while covering little, if any, new ground.  There was a general nod towards infrastructure; however, the president had no new plan to pay for the investment other than an untested form of financing and a new office in EPA to assist water infrastructure projects.

The speech also reiterated policies on pay equity, mandatory paid time off and a minimum wage increase that stalled while Democrats controlled the Senate and the White House – making the chance of passage in a Republican-controlled Congress extremely small.

During the address, President Obama proposed several significant tax increases on American taxpayers. A comprehensive tax reform proposal was nonexistent in the speech and preludes to compromise with a new Congress were meager. He hinted at several past proposals but gave no details except highlights of controversial plans that intend to close loopholes on high income earners, including pass-through businesses. These proposals would raise $320 billion over 10 years and use most of the proceeds for new tax breaks for two-earner couples, child care and education on tax increases for the highest earners that the president has sought for several years:

  • Raise the top capital gains rate to 28 percent from 23.8 percent on joint-filers with income over $500,000;
  • Repeal the rule that lets people pass along assets to heirs without paying capital gains taxes on the growth in value known as stepped-up basis to fair market value; and
  • Impose a new tax (7 basis point) on the largest financial institutions (assets over $50 billion) analogous to the SIFI proposal in the Camp Draft).

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

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ENVIRONMENT
EPA Release Final Version of Science Report on Connectivity of Waters
 

EPA’s Office of Research and Development released the final version of the report that provides the main scientific underpinning for its “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) proposed rule. The report concludes (unsurprisingly) that streams wetlands and riparian areas are connected to downstream waters, and that isolated waters influence these waters also (albeit to a sometimes lesser degree). This final report incorporates feedback from the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel convened to review the document.

SAB members called for a “gradient approach” to assessing connectivity because almost all waters are connected given a long enough time span. The report incorporated this change as part of its evaluation of isolated waters, stating their impact of downstream waters works along such a gradient. The final report, however, still fails to scientifically conclude when a connection is “significant” as it pertains to distinguishing any nexus of waters from a “significant nexus,” which is the question at the heart of the WOTUS rulemaking. The final WOTUS rule is currently scheduled for release as early as April 2015.

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

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