Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 27, 2015
Spacer
AGC Home Page
Email our Editor
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe
Printer Friendly
AGC Political Toolkit
RSS
Take Action!
On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
One Week Left to Meet with Your Congressman Ė Donít Wait!
Highway Trust Fund Challenges Illustrated
LABOR
AGC Letter Prompts IRS to Clarify Healthcare Reporting Requirements for Multiemployer Plans
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Submits Comments Opposing Blacklisting Executive Order
AGC Leads Partnering Training Sessions for VA Resident Engineers
2016 ELECTIONS
Biden Feeling the Urge to Run Again?
TRANSPORTATION
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 bill. 

Resources to help you schedule meetings can be found on the Hardhats for Highway “Meet with Congress” page.  Please follow up your meetings with an email to your Congressman, reminding them to focus on passing a long-term highway & transit bill after the August recess. Encourage your employees & colleagues to send an email as well.

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.

For more information, talking points and additional social media materials, please visit Hardhats for Highways or contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org or (703) 837-5376.  Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Highway Trust Fund Challenges Illustrated
 

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 CBO projection.

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. 

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
LABOR
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 employee coverage. 

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. 

For additional ACA resources, visit AGC’s members-only webpage at www.agc.org/ACA or contact Tamika Carter at cartert@agc.org or Jim Young at youngj@agc.org

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
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.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
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 means. 

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.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
2016 ELECTIONS
Biden Feeling the Urge to Run Again?
 

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 Democratic primary.”

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 2008.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at ashinoffd@agc.org or (202) 547-5013. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

AGC Townhouse, 53 D Street SE • Washington, DC 20003 • 202.547.1625 (phone) • 202.547.1635 (fax)• www.agc.org
AGC Home | About AGC | Advocacy | Industry Topics | Construction Markets | Programs & Events | Career Development | News & Media

To ensure delivery of AGC’s Construction Legislative Week in Review, please add 'communications@agc.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, visit our white-listing page for more details.

© Copyright The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. All Rights Reserved.