One Week Left to Meet with Your Congressman Ė Donít Wait!
Tell Him/Her to Finish Work on Highway & Transit Bill
The Senate completed action on a six-year transportation
reauthorization bill before the August recess. The House has indicated that it
will work on its version of a long-term highway & transit bill when members
return to Washington after Labor Day. With one week left in the August recess,
it is important that you meet with your Congressman and
stress the importance of passing a long-term, fully funded transportation
As part of our efforts to urge Congress to pass the bill,
AGC of America has developed a video of contractors and
construction workers calling on Congress to “stop kicking the can.” To help spread the message, please also email
this video to your members of Congress and share through social media. It is important that all members of the House
of Representatives hear from their constituents about the need to complete
action on a six-year bill.
This week, the Congressional Budget Office released its
semiannual update of budgetary and economic projections. The report further
highlights the challenges facing Congress as they try to fill the revenue gap
in the Highway Trust Fund to provide a six-year highway & transit bill.
The Budget Office predicts a deficit in the trust fund over
the next six years to be about $77.5 billion. Absent an increase in the gas tax
or other user fees, Congress will need to provide approximately $72 billion in
their long-term transportation bill just to maintain fiscal year 2015 spending
levels. The AGC-sponsored Eno Center for Transportation takes a deeper dive into the
The projections for the Highway Trust Fund come as a
surprise to no one. AGC and our members
continue to urge Congress to make fixing the
Highway Trust Fund and passing a six-year highway & transit bill priority
number one when Congress return to D.C. on September 8.
AGC Letter Prompts IRS to Clarify Healthcare Reporting Requirements for Multiemployer Plans
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on August 6 issued an
updated Form 1095-C and instructions following a June 9 letter from AGC of America and the
Food Marketing Institute urging the agency to make the revisions. Form 1095-C is one of the forms used by
employers to report information regarding the cost and level of healthcare coverage
offered to employees under the employer mandate provisions of the Affordable
Care Act. The form allows the IRS to verify whether an employer is subject to
penalties. A draft version of the
updated form and instructions are available on the IRS website.
When the IRS initially released Form 1095-C and its
accompanying instructions, it was unclear how an employer should report
coverage offered through a multiemployer plan.
The initial instructions to Form 1095-C indicated that an employer
should report, on Line 14, whether or not a bargaining unit employee was
actually eligible for coverage in a multiemployer plan. The form required this
information even if the employer qualified for a safe harbor under the
“multiemployer interim rule” and reported this on Line 16. This made Form 1095-C confusing, since the
very reason the IRS issued the “multiemployer interim rule” – which AGC played
a key in securing – was to provide relief to employers offering coverage
through a multiemployer plan because they generally do not have information on
To address this discrepancy in Form 1095-C, the IRS updated
the instructions by clarifying that an employer relying on the “multiemployer
interim rule” on Line 16 (by entering Code 2E) does not need to report an
employee’s eligibility for coverage on Line 14.
Rather, the IRS instructs such an employer to enter the code for “no
offer of coverage” (Code 1H) on Line 14 regardless of whether the employee was
eligible to enroll in coverage under the multiemployer plan. This update will substantially simplify the
reporting process with respect to multiemployer plans in 2015.
Editor’s Note: The content
of this article was heavily contributed by the attorneys of Susanin,
Widman and Brennan, lawyers in
the areas of labor and employment law, employee benefits, and construction law.
This information should not be relied upon as legal advice.Return to Top
AGC Submits Comments Opposing Blacklisting Executive Order
On Aug. 26, AGC submitted its comments to the Federal
Acquisition Regulation Council and the U.S. Department of Labor on their proposed rule and guidance, respectively. The rule
and guidance implement the president’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces”Executive Order 13673, commonly called
the Blacklisting Executive Order.
Under the proposed rule, both prime and subcontractors must
report violations of 14 federal labor laws and “equivalent” state labor laws
during the previous three years, and again every six months, on federal
contracts over $500,000. Prime contractors would also be responsible for
evaluating the labor law violations of its subcontractors at all tiers. A
single violation, or a combination of multiple violations, could lead a
contracting officer to either (1) deny a prime contractor the right to compete
for a federal contract; or (2) remove a prime contractor or subcontractor from
an ongoing project. Such determinations would be made on an individual
contracting officer basis with assistance from newly-created agency labor law
compliance advisors. The Department of Labor guidance further articulates the
policies outlined in the proposed rule. The rule would only apply to
direct-federal contracts and not to federal-aid contracts, like highway
contracts awarded by state departments of transportation.
In its comments, AGC explained why the executive order,
proposed rule and proposed guidance should be withdrawn because they are
unfounded, unnecessary, unworkable and unlawful. Since the administration
issued the Blacklisting Executive Order in July 2014, AGC has advocated against
its implementation on Capitol Hill and helped form an industry coalition to
stop it. AGC also participated in a White House meeting with Secretary of Labor
Thomas Perez, where the association noted its deep concerns with the Order.
To read AGC’s comments on the FAR Council proposed rule, click here. To read AGC’s Comments on the proposed DOL
Guidance, click here.
AGC Leads Partnering Training Sessions for VA Resident Engineers
At the request of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,
AGC recently led several workshops with Department resident engineers from
around the country on the value of project-level partnering. Over the course of
two days, AGC discussed the need for contractors and owner representatives to
not only establish trust at the front end of the project, but to maintain it
throughout project delivery—whether through formal or informal partnering
Several AGC contractor members participated in the workshops and
stressed the need for honest, consistent communication and the establishment of
decision escalation processes as a means to deliver projects on time and on
budget. The workshops included brief presentations from contractors,
interactive team-building exercises and back and forth questions and answers
between the Department engineers and AGC contractors. The Department held this
workshop as part of a broader training initiative, the theme of which was
“turning the page” on the old ways and looking towards improvement ahead.
Rumors are swirling this week at the prospect of Vice
President Joe Biden entering the presidential fray following a not-so-secret weekend
meeting with progressive darling Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The
president’s spokesman added to the speculation by heaping praise on Mr. Biden
and added, “I wouldn't rule out the possibility of an endorsement in the
The current RealClearPolitics national average has Mr. Biden
in third place with 12 percent. He is proceeded by former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton (D) who garners 49 percent, and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.)
who has 25 percent. Mr. Biden will not want to risk running for president
without substantial support first. If his poll numbers get into the upper 30s,
he’ll be more confident moving forward.
Leaking his meeting with Sen. Warren was a first step and a
smart move. Being associated with or having a quasi-endorsement of one of the
most popular figures in the Democratic Party is a sure way to get a bump in the
polls. While no one knows what the two discussed, the blogosphere is already in
a tizzy over a possible game-changing Biden-Warren ticket.
In addition to monitoring his own poll numbers, the vice
president is likely waiting to see what happens to Mrs. Clinton. In a recent
Quinnipiac poll, almost 60 percent of respondents said Hillary Clinton is not
honest and trustworthy – including 19 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of
Independents. If Clinton’s poll numbers continue to worsen, it will make Mr.
Biden’s decision to enter the race much easier.
In the end, it will be the candidate and his family who have
the final say – not the voters, media, and pundits. The vice president’s eldest
son Beau had one dying wish for his father before losing his fight against
brain cancer. According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, “[Beau] had a
mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White
House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better
off with Biden values.” Mr. Biden’s other son, Hunter, has also urged him to
run although his wife remains reluctant at the moment.
If the vice president decides to move forward with a
presidential campaign, it will be his third attempt for our nation’s highest
office having run unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1988 and
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