Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 17, 2015
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On the Inside
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Congressional Conflicts May Lead to Shutdown 2 weeks from Today
TRANSPORTATION
Still No House Action on Highway Bill
LABOR
Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors Increases to $10.15
TAX
House Tax Committee Forwards Depreciation Policies
ENERGY
House Committee Moves Oil Export Bill
2016 ELECTION
Fiorina Makes Headway in Last Night's GOP Debate
AGC EVENTS
Register for the 19th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Donít Miss Out on First Ever AGC Utility Infrastructure Conference
Register for the AGC Highway Contractors Conference
Register at Early Bird Rates for Winter FIC Meeting
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Congressional Conflicts May Lead to Shutdown 2 weeks from Today
 


Both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate say they want to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month. However, there has been little progress in the House or Senate on moving a continuing resolution to keep the government open past September 30 which is the end of the current fiscal year.  AGC’s lobbyists have estimated the probability of a government shut down at 54%.  There is ample reason to think that  there will not be a shut down. For instance, both House and Senate Republican Leaders have said that they will not shut down the government.  However, this is Washington DC, and the planned is often not as likely as the unplanned.  We will try to keep people updated as we gather information about the possibility of a shutdown. For federal contractors, we have some advice prepared during past fiscal crisis that may provide some guidance on how to prepare for the potential of a government shutdown, it can be found here.

For more information, contact Jeff Shoaf at shoafj@agc.org 

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TRANSPORTATION
Still No House Action on Highway Bill
 

Time is running out for House action.  A bill must pass the House, be finalized by the Senate, and then signed by the president by Oct. 29, or else Congress will have to draft another short-term extension.  AGC and our members need to continue to contact their House representative and urge them to take action now to avoid any further extensions.  Please visit Hardhats for Highways to deliver that message to your representative.

Hope faded this week for quick action on a long-term surface transportation authorization in the House as the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has yet to finalize their bill.   Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa) and Ranking Democrat Peter DeFazio (D-Or) continue to negotiate the bill but, as of yet, have not agreed on a path forward.   As the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee continues work on the policy of the bill, the Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has yet to lay out a plan to provide the revenue to pay for long-term bill.

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

LABOR
Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors Increases to $10.15
 

On September 16, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a new minimum wage rate of $10.15 for direct federal contracts and subcontracts covered by Executive Order 13658. Federally assisted contracts are not affected.  The rate goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

President Obama signed Executive Order 13658 in 2014. The order’s corresponding regulations implemented an hourly minimum wage for workers performing covered federal contracts of $10.10 per hour beginning on January 1, 2015.  The order mandated that the Secretary of Labor determine a new minimum wage annually, based on the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage and clerical workers.  Notice is required to the public at least 90 days before the new wage goes into effect each year. 

Impacted workers include those whose wages are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act , the Service Contract Act, and non-exempt workers whose wages are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for all time spent directly supporting a covered contract.  FLSA-covered workers who do not spend at least 20% of the workweek directly supporting a covered contract are excluded. 

Covered contractors with existing projects or awards are entitled to an adjustment by federal agencies if the annual inflation increase was not covered by the existing contract or award. 

For more information on Executive Order 13658, including AGC’s impact on the final rule, click here.  

For more information, please contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133 Return to Top

TAX
House Tax Committee Forwards Depreciation Policies
 

On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved two expired measures that affect tax planning for contractors’ long-term investment in equipment, and its customers’ ability to invest and expand restaurants and facilities. Prior to the hearing, AGC submitted a letter of support for the measures. The following two bills were reported to the House floor:

  • H.R. 2510, A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify and make permanent bonus depreciation, sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), would make 50-percent bonus depreciation permanent. This will provide much-needed certainty for American businesses and job creators so they can make vital investments and create more opportunity in the economy. The bill’s 10 year cost is estimated to be $280.6 billion.
  • H.R. 765, the Restaurant and Retail Jobs and Growth Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), would make permanent the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements, restaurant improvements and new construction, and retail improvements. The bill’s 10 year cost is estimated to be $28.4 billion.

The House and Senate will most likely pass a larger tax extenders package by the end of the year that includes over 50 expired items that cover a wide range of topics including race tracks, rum, and racehorses. Both tax chairmen have deferred to their respective leadership on the timing of approving a package of 55 expired tax policies in Congress, with some leadership staff indicating that extenders would wait until December. AGC continues to advocate for retroactively extending all nine of the construction related tax extenders that expired at the end of 2014.

For more information, contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org Return to Top

ENERGY
House Committee Moves Oil Export Bill
 

Today, the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed a bill by a vote of 31-19 to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports.  Three democrats joined all of the Republicans to send the legislation to the House floor.  It is expected the bill will be voted on in the coming weeks.

AGC joined our coalition partners in the Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) in sending a letter to the committee expressing our support for lifting the ban.  Lifting the ban will support added domestic production that will result in the creation of new jobs and contribute billions of dollars in the supply chain in the coming years.

AGC will continue to work with our coalition partners to push for an end to the ban on exporting crude oil.

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

2016 ELECTION
Fiorina Makes Headway in Last Night's GOP Debate
 

Standing in the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 11 candidates faced off last night in the Republican Party’s second presidential debate.  Clocking in at a whopping three hours, the debate primarily focused on Donald Trump and foreign policy occasionally intertwined with such domestic issues as immigration, Planned Parenthood, Supreme Court appointments, and taxes.

By far, the clear standout of the evening was former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who almost didn’t make the cut.  After dominating the second tier Fox News debate in early August, Ms. Fiorina broke away from that pack, rising to 8th, 6th, and 4thplace, in the national, Iowa, and New Hampshire RealClearPolitics averages, respectively.  However, the original criteria CNN subscribed to left the former CEO off the primetime stage; it was later changed after public lobbying from her campaign and supporters.

Of her performance, Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic and Republican Party insiders said (via Politico):

  • “She was new onstage with most to gain and she delivered for herself. Carly dispatched Trump, moved to substance, was moving while discussing her late daughter, and closed with inspiration.”
  • “Fiorina drops the mic. Her closing argument was Jeffersonian. She handled Trump like the junior high schooler he is.”
  • "She caused the fifth and final bankruptcy of Donald Trump. Bankrupt of policy, ideas and stature, he was finally shown to be the fraud con artist of 2016."

It is likely Ms. Fiorina’s poll numbers and name recognition will continue their upward trajectory as last night’s debate was the most-watched program in CNN’s history averaging just under 23 million viewers.  The big question is, can she edge out Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson as the new GOP frontrunner?  Only time will tell, and fortunately, there is plenty of it until the first votes get cast at the Iowa Caucuses in February.

Take this survey to let us know who you believe won last night’s debate as well your preferred candidates for the Democratic and Republican nominations.

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

AGC EVENTS
Register for the 19th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
November 4-6| Las Vegas, Nev.
 

AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) will jointly hold the 19th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference on Nov. 4-6, 2015 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This three-day conference offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. The 32 interactive sessions will cover the latest industry issues and their financial implications.

Participants may earn up to 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits for attending. 

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/agc_cfma or contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org Return to Top

Donít Miss Out on First Ever AGC Utility Infrastructure Conference
Co-Located with the International Construction & Utility Equipment Expo
 

AGC will host its first ever Utility Infrastructure Conference, Sept. 29–Oct. 1 in Louisville, Kentucky. Join other contractors, owners and key industry constituents involved in every aspect of utility infrastructure construction for high-quality education sessions, the premier utility construction equipment expo, and networking opportunities.

This year’s conference will be co-located with the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE), which is the largest industry event focused exclusively on the utility infrastructure market, with over 17,000 industry professionals attending ICUEE 2013. All conference sessions will take place inside the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sessions will focus on subjects such as the utility construction economic outlook, the challenges and opportunities in managing a multigenerational workforce, and how OSHA’s new Confined Space Entry final rule will impact utility construction contractors. AGC will also host a legislative & regulatory update on the Expo Demo Stage and will partner with the Common Ground Alliance for an Underground Damage Prevention lunch.

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/utility or contact Scott Berry at berrys@agc.org. Return to Top

Register for the AGC Highway Contractors Conference
November 5-7 | Phoenix, Arizona
 

Get up-to-date information on a variety of issues that will impact the highway and transportation construction markets over the next year. The 2015 AGC Highway Contractors Conference will be held Nov. 5-7, 2015, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. 

Industry professionals from companies involved in building highway, bridge, transit, airport runway and rail projects will benefit from this conference.  The conference will feature presentations and discussions on major trends in highway construction, including:

  • Washington Legislative & Regulatory Update
  • State & Local Funding Initiatives
  • Social Media in Advocacy
  • Construction Technology
  • Use of Drones in Construction
  • Risk Management

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/highway or contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

Register at Early Bird Rates for Winter FIC Meeting
 
AGC has opened early-bird registration for the Winter 2016 AGC Financial Issues Committee Meeting at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ on January 13-14, 2016. Meeting agenda and activities will be circulated in the coming weeks and available on the meeting’s site. Please visit the site to register as well as view presentations and agendas of recent meetings. Approximately 40 member company CFOs and other senior accounting professionals regularly attend the AGC FIC meetings.  The Committee is geared toward member company CFOs, 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 AGC member companies. Attendees also have an opportunity to network and discuss a wide variety of topics, including: audit issues faced by construction companies; congressional action on tax policy; and an economic outlook for the industry.
 
Presentations and Segments include:
  • Overview of projects and operations with FASB                                      
  • Economic Update with AGC Chief Economist
  • Legislative & Presidential Update with AGC Government Affairs Staff              
  • CFO Discussion with Zurich North America on the Surety Perspective on Enterprise Risk Management. Moderated by D.A. Davidson & Kraus-Anderson Construction
 For more information, please visit http://meetings.agc.org/fic/ or contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org
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