Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org April 23, 2015
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On the Inside
HARDHATS FOR HIGHWAYS
Highway Authorization Expires in Five Weeks
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
In-Depth Updates on New Regulations & Case Law at Upcoming Federal Contractors Conference
House Panel Approves Robust Corps’ Civil Works Funding Bill
TRADE
AGC Brings Message on 'Buy American' to U.S. Chamber and EPA
HARDHATS FOR HIGHWAYS
Highway Authorization Expires in Five Weeks
Have Your Members of Congress Heard from You?
 

In just five weeks, on May 31, highway and transit program authorization ends. Even with an extension of authorization, additional revenue is needed in the HTF by mid-summer or the Department of Transportation (DOT) will have to implement “cash management” practices which will result in slow or reduced reimbursements to states for on-going construction projects. Several states have cancelled contract lettings or reduced the number of projects in the lettings because of this uncertainty. Additionally, feedback from speakers and Hill visits at last week’s Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In indicate that it is unlikely that Congress will be able to pass legislation before the deadline and yet another short-term extension will be necessary — the thirteenth short-term extension in the past five years.

This highlights the need to continue to press your senators and representative to fix the Highway Trust Fund. The Hardhats for Highways site is the best way for you and your employees to get the message to your legislators today. Thank you to those who have already sent messages; currently there is a series of five different messages on the website for your use. Even if you and your employees have sent a message recently, please send another. Congress needs to understand the impact of its inaction.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319. Return to Top

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
In-Depth Updates on New Regulations & Case Law at Upcoming Federal Contractors Conference
 

Over the last year, the federal government has issued a host of new regulations impacting your construction business. Do you know about those regulations? Is your company already in compliance with them or properly preparing? Want to learn from construction law experts? Register for the Federal Contractors Conference today while space is still available!

In addition to hearing from the leading federal construction agency officials, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the pending and new regulations that will greatly impact their business and marketplace. Construction law attorneys from Fox Rothschild LLP will update you on:

  • Proposed, pending and recently  finalized Federal Acquisition Regulation rules on past performance evaluations, contractor ethics and integrity, whistle-blower protections, SBA mentor-protégé program and human trafficking; 
  • Case law updates on bid protests from GAO, the Court of Federal Claims and SBA; and 
  • Case law updates on Contracts Disputes Act Claims and Appeals from the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA), Alternative Dispute Resolution at ASBCA and CBCA, Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit. 

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/fedcon.  Return to Top

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House Panel Approves Robust Corps’ Civil Works Funding Bill
Includes Policy Rider to Curb EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rulemaking
 

On April 22, the House Appropriations Committee approved by unanimous voice vote a funding bill that would significantly increase funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program in fiscal year 2016 as compared to the president’s budget proposal. The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill would provide $5.597 billion to the Civil Works Program in FY 2016; that’s $864.75 million more than the president requested in his budget proposal and $142.25 million above the FY 2015 funding levels. The bill: (1) increases the president’s proposed construction account funding level by about 40 percent to $1.631 billion; (2) increases the operations and maintenance account funding level to $3.058 billion—the most ever and about $350 million more than the president requested; and (3) increases funding out of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to $1.178 billion—the highest ever—and increases spending from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to $340 million—which is reportedly all of the estimated revenues expected to flow into the fund this year.

Also agreed to by the Committee is a provision restricting funds for the proposed rule from the EPA and Corps that would redefine "waters of the U.S." Several industries, including AGC, have called for the rule's withdrawal and for the agencies to start over with better input from state and local governments and affected industries before a new proposed rule is issued.

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

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TRADE
AGC Brings Message on 'Buy American' to U.S. Chamber and EPA
 

AGC's Utility Infrastructure Division Chair, Dragan Stojanovic of Norair Engineering Corp., participated on a panel hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the affect of domestic sourcing laws on various parts of the industrial supply chain.

AGC was joined by manufacturer Xylem, Inc. (representing the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association), California Steel Industries, and the group North America Trading Together. Discussing the impact of these domestic sourcing requirements on contractors' prices and project scheduling, AGC joined the call for reform of these programs and harmonization of definitions of "made in the USA." Others on the panel described how "Buy America" has gone from a protection policy for American jobs from foreign competition to a way to lock some American companies out of certain markets in favor of other American companies. AGC also brought this message to EPA, in an effort to loosen the new definitions of "made in the USA" on EPA's SRF projects.

AGC continues to be an industry leader on this issue and will be bringing potential solutions to these issues to relevant agency and congressional representatives.

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

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