Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org February 11, 2016
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
FAA Reauthorization Begins with Markup in House
BUDGET
Pres. Obama Releases FY 2017 Proposed Budget
2016 ELECTIONS
Trump & Sanders Win New Hampshire Primaries
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
House Passes AGC-Supported VA Reform Measure
AGC-Backed Procurement Legislation Passes Senate Panel
Redevelopment of Federal Excess Property Legislation Advances
AGC EVENTS
Last Chance to Save on Registration for the AGC Federal Contractors Conference
AGC Financial Issues Committee Early-Bird Registration Opens
TRANSPORTATION
FAA Reauthorization Begins with Markup in House
AGC Seeks Increased Funding for Airport Infrastructure
 

Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee officially kicked-off the reauthorization process for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with a markup of the Aviation Innovation Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act.  The AIRR Act, which fundamentally transforms air traffic control operations, is expected to pass the committee later this evening.  It is important that representatives and senators hear from AGC members about the need for increased funding for airport runway and infrastructure projects The FAA is currently operating under an extension that expires on March 31.

Throughout the reauthorization process, modernizing airport infrastructure financing and increasing funding for the Airport Improvement Program have been priorities of AGC.  Unfortunately, the bill fails to modernize the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), keeping the current cap of $4.50 per flight segment ($18 maximum per roundtrip ticket) in place.  Despite not increasing the cap, the AIRR Act simplifies the process for for imposing PFC’s at small and medium hubs.  The bill does stabilize funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and in fact increases the authorization for the program from $3.350 billion in FY 2016 to $3.817 in FY 2022.  

Prior to the markup, AGC and the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition sent letters to the committee requesting increased funding for the AIP program and increasing the cap on PFCs. An AGC-supported amendment by Reps Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) to increase the AIP even further than provided in the AIRR Act passed by a vote of 47-12.  An amendment to raise the cap on PFCs was offered by Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) but was not voted on.  Amendments opposed by AGC to expand Buy America requirements on FAA projects were offered but were not voted on.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
BUDGET
Pres. Obama Releases FY 2017 Proposed Budget
Includes 13 Percent Increase in Federal Construction Accounts
 

On Feb. 9, President Obama released his $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2017, which proposes $1.215 trillion in discretionary defense and non-defense spending in FY 2017 and $2.565 trillion in mandatory spending.  The budget, which stays within the discretionary spending limits set last November in the Bipartisan Budget Act, has been declared dead on arrival by Republican Congressional leaders.  For the first time in 41 years, the House and Senate budget committees will not hold hearings with the president’s budget director.

The budget outlines a new 21st Century Clean Transportation Plan that is paid for through a proposed $10.25 fee on a barrel of oil and significant new increases in taxes on businesses including about $650 billion on foreign earned corporate income and a new massive small business tax hike—increasing the top rate on active small business income from 39.6 to 43.4 percent to raise $272 billion for the Federal government’s health care initiatives. The budget also proposes to tax capital gains and dividend income at a top rate of 28 percent. The budget also includes several infrastructure financing provisions that were also included in the last few budget proposals by the administration, including providing for America Fast Forward Bonds; creation of a new category of Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds; and modifies qualified Private Activity Bonds for public education facilities. 

In terms of totality of federal construction accounts that is tracked annually by AGC, the budget provides for over $140 billion for FY 2017 – a 13.35 percent increase from FY 2016 appropriations levels.  Most of the increases can be found in the administration’s Clean Transportation Plan, which provided an additional $17.9 billion for various transportation programs (the vast majority of which is directed at initiatives other than highway and bridge improvements) in FY 2017.  The budget makes significant cuts to several major construction programs including, military construction, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, VA Major Projects, and Clean Water State Revolving Funds.  A full analysis of the FY 2017 budget for federal construction accounts can be found here.

Additional details on funding and tax issues in the President’s Budget can be found here.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
2016 ELECTIONS
Trump & Sanders Win New Hampshire Primaries
 

The New Hampshire polling proved correct.  Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders were the easy victors in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries last night, but what does that tell us?

First, the Sanders’ victory, as impressive as it was, will be short lived.  Despite his large victory at the polls (60 percent to 38 percent), Sanders still trails badly in committed delegate votes.  According to the best available delegate projection calculations, Sanders won the New Hampshire delegate count by a 15-9 margin from the committed pool. 
 
Combined with Iowa, Ms. Clinton trails among the regular delegate group, 36-32, but reportedly has another 362 committed Super Delegates as compared to Sanders committing only six of the at-large votes.  Thus, the unofficial delegate count is 394-42 in favor of Ms. Clinton, but her support number is only 16.5 percent of the total that she needs to clinch the nomination.
 
The Democrats’ next stop is the Nevada Caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 23, followed by the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, Feb. 27.  In both places, Ms. Clinton is expected to rebound with strong performances.  Despite Tuesday’s setback, Hillary Clinton’s prospects of winning the Democratic presidential nomination remain bright.
 
For the Republicans, Mr. Trump’s win was as big as expected, scoring 35 percent of the New Hampshire preference vote to Ohio Gov. John Kasich‘s (R-Ohio) 16 percent.  Sen. Ted Cruz, ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Marco Rubio followed, all closely bunched within one percentage point.  Since each broke the 10 percent threshold necessary to obtain delegate support, this group of five contenders will divide the 20 available GOP delegates. 
 
Mr. Trump obtained 10 delegate votes in New Hampshire, securing first place for the race with a grand total of just 17 committed votes.  This means Trump needs to secure more than 98 percent of the remaining delegate votes to win the nomination, and all the others need even more.  Therefore, after the first two voting events, the chances of this nomination fight progressing to a contested convention is becoming a more likely outcome.
  
Republicans’ next vote is Saturday, Feb. 20 in the South Carolina primary.  Here, 50 delegates are at stake.  Twenty-one come from the seven congressional districts (three delegates per district), and the remaining 29 at-large delegates are awarded to the statewide winner.  The three congressional district delegates all go to the candidate who places first in the individual congressional district. The set up in South Carolina greatly favors the statewide first place finisher because it is likely he will win at least three congressional districts in addition to the at-large allocation.
 
Gov. John Kasich’s strong New Hampshire performance will carry him to South Carolina but it is still an open question as to whether he can remain viable until the calendar arrives at the Winner-Take-All Ohio primary on March 15.
 
Mr. Bush also needed at least a top four finish, and he received one.  Therefore, the South Carolina primary could prove determinative for several of the candidates – like Dr. Ben Carson – who are currently lagging behind the early front runners.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
House Passes AGC-Supported VA Reform Measure
Addresses Change Orders, Industry Standards and Standard Designs
 

The House of Representatives this week unanimously passed AGC-supported legislation that would help improve the VA construction program’s interactions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and accountability to taxpayers and Congress.  Introduced by the House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the Construction Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 3106) would:

  • Require, to the maximum extent practicable, the VA to use industry standards, standard designs, and best practices in carrying out the construction of medical facilities;
  • For VA projects at or above $100 million, (1) require USACE to execute change orders below $250,000 within 30 days; and (2) allow the VA to issue a final decision for change orders of $250,000 or more within 30 days. If the VA has not made a final decision within those 30 days, USACE can issue a final change order decision;
  • Mandate more regular project status reporting to Congress for projects at or above $100 million; and
  • Establish an Assistant Inspector General for Construction position, which would conduct internal oversight of the VA’s construction program—both major and minor programs.

AGC supportedthis initiative through the committee process last year. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC-Backed Procurement Legislation Passes Senate Panel
Bill Addresses One-Step Design-Build and Reverse Auctions
 

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs this week unanimously passed AGC-supported legislation that would (1) require civilian federal agencies—non-Department of Defense agencies—to utilize the two-step design-build selection process for design-build projects greater than $750,000, thereby limiting one-step design-build procurements; and (2) prohibit reverse auctions for construction services. The bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), the Consensus Procurement Improvement Act of 2015, S. 1526, may now move to the Senate floor for consideration and passage. An AGC co-chaired coalition of 15 national construction organizations sent a letter in support of this measure and has long worked to advance it through the legislative process. AGC is working with members of the House to introduce the same bill there.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Redevelopment of Federal Excess Property Legislation Advances
AGC Pushes for Redevelopment of Excess Federal Real Property
 

Members of the House and Senate have recently introduced and advanced legislation that could encourage federal agencies to dispose of, consolidate, or redevelop billions of dollars of excess or underutilized civilian federal real property. This could translate into significant private and federal construction work throughout the nation. As such, advancing these bills are a significant legislative priority for AGC.

The bipartisan proposals—the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act (H.R. 4465), the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act (H.R. 4487), the Federal Property Management Reform Act (S. 2509) and the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act (S. 2375)—were recently introduced in Congress, with the Senate bills advancing through the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee this week.  These bills would establish an independent federal board to oversee disposal of excess civilian agency real property and include plans to:

  • Sell federal properties of at least $8 billion in value over six years;
  • Sell the existing Department of Energy Headquarters Complex in Washington, D.C., and build a new one;
  • Consolidate, sell or redevelop postal facilities around the nation;
  • Allow for unsolicited proposals for the exchange, sale or redevelopment of federal real property; and
  • Streamline the federal real property disposal process.

The disposal of unneeded federal real property could allow for millions and potentially billions of dollars in private and federal construction work throughout the nation, as excess federal buildings exist in every state. For example, GSA sold an abandoned heating plant in Washington, D.C., for $19.5 million that will be converted into high-end condominiums, requiring private construction work of more than $100 million. According to the most recent Federal Real Property Summary, the government owns more than 254,000 buildings, comprising 2.5 billion square feet of space, costing the taxpayer $14.4 billion annually in maintenance. Recent estimates show 77,000 buildings are underutilized, costing $1.7 billion annually.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC EVENTS
Last Chance to Save on Registration for the AGC Federal Contractors Conference
Early-Bird Rate Expires Tomorrow
 

Register by tomorrow for the 2016 AGC Federal Contractors Conference (FEDCON) and save $75 off the registration fee. FedCon – held May 9-11 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. – is the premier conference for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, General Services Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.

In addition to substantive discussions and presentations with federal agencies, attendees will hear from legal experts about the latest federal regulations that will impact their businesses and may have the opportunity to continue a dialogue with federal agencies after the conference. During the Federal Law and Regulation Workshop, leading federal construction attorneys will address executive orders, Small Business Administration and Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and case law trends your company needs to know to work in the federal market. And, when the conference concludes, AGC member attendees will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing dialogue and meetings with agency headquarters later in the year.

For more information and to register, go to http://meetings.agc.org/fedcon/ Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC Financial Issues Committee Early-Bird Registration Opens
 

The AGC Financial Issues Committee Summer Meeting is scheduled for June 13-14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Meeting and hotel information is available on the meeting’s site and Early-Bird registration opened this afternoon. CEOs, Owners, CFOs, Tax Directors and other accounting professionals will have an opportunity to hear from influential Members of Congress, FASB representatives, peers on CFO topics and senior CPA consultants regarding current and future tax and accounting issues as well as, AGCs Chief Economist about the outlook for Q4 & 2017 as well government affairs staff readout of the political party candidates and conventions.

For more information, please contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. 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.