Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 26, 2016
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On the Inside
TAX
AGC Gets Legislation Introduced to Support Public Buildings Infrastructure
Tax Committees Continue Hearings on Tax Reform
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC-Backed Civilian BRAC Bills Pass House
AGC-Supported $5 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill Advances
AGC Objects to DOD Contracting Proposed Rule
Puerto Rico Financial Crisis Legislation Advances
SAFETY
House Holds Hearing on OSHA’s New Recordkeeping Rule
TRANSPORTATION
Bipartisan Support in House for Highway Trust Fund Fix
House Committee Moves FY 2017 Transportation Funding
TAX
AGC Gets Legislation Introduced to Support Public Buildings Infrastructure
Contact your members of Congress and Urge Them to Support the Bill
 

On Thursday, AGC prevailed in securing the introduction of the Public Buildings Renewal Act of 2016. The legislation seeks to create a new class of projects eligible for financing through private activity bonds (PABs) including public buildings such as schools, post offices, libraries, and courthouses. In short, the bill would create $5 billion in Private Activity Bonds (PABs) for public buildings for states to access through the Treasury Department. Visit AGC’s Action Center and urge your members of Congress to support this bill.

Previous efforts by AGC and the Performance Based Building Coalition helped advance the issue and ultimately helped secure introduction of this bipartisan standalone bill. AGC will continue to advocate for passage of the legislation and seek to introduce a companion PAB measure in the Senate.

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

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Tax Committees Continue Hearings on Tax Reform
AGC Continues to Push for Reforms that Benefit the Construction Industry
 

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held the second of two hearings on Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R‐Utah) corporate integration plan. Chairman Hatch envisions corporate integration as the starting point for broadly overhauling the tax code, while stemming the practice of corporate inversions, and plans to introduce a proposal in the coming weeks. AGC has been actively involved in vetting the discussion drafts with the committee. AGC will continue to monitor this legislative proposal and analyze the language when it is released.

On Wednesday, the Tax Policy Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the need for comprehensive tax reform. All witnesses called for some form of consumption tax as a way to improve economic growth over income-based taxation, a concept that is expected to be an underlying issue in the tax policy blueprint that Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is expected to release at the end of next month. AGC sent a letter to committee members outlining key tax issues for the construction industry that should be included in any debate on changes to the tax code.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC-Backed Civilian BRAC Bills Pass House
Potential to Unlock Billions in New Construction
 

On May 23, the House unanimously approved two AGC-supported bills – The Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act, H.R. 4487, and the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act, H.R. 4465 – that would encourage federal agencies to dispose of, consolidate, or redevelop at least $8 billion of excess or underutilized civilian federal real property. These bills will help grow private construction markets by encouraging redevelopment and a more efficient use of real property by the private or federal sectors. 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. A Senate committee earlier passed its own federal real property reform legislation. AGC will continue to press the Senate to pass these bills.

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

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AGC-Supported $5 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill Advances
House Committee Approves Water Resources Development Act
 

On May 25, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved an AGC-supported $5 billion Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works construction projects, including locks, dams, levees, harbor maintenance dredging and environmental restoration projects, among other construction projects. Specifically, the bill authorizes 28 new Army Corps projects, which you can find here.

In April, a Senate committee passed an AGC-backed $9 billion WRDA bill, which also includes millions for drinking water infrastructure. AGC will work with both chambers of Congress to enact the most robust construction investment WRDA bill possible.

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

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AGC Objects to DOD Contracting Proposed Rule
Would Prohibit Certain Cost-Plus Construction Contracts
 

On May 24, AGC objected to the Department of Defense’s proposed change to the Defense Federal Acquisition Supplement (DFARS) that would prohibit the use of any cost-plus system of contracting for military construction and military family housing projects governed under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. AGC noted that a blanket prohibition of the use of a cost-plus system will prevent federal construction owners from selecting the best contracting and project delivery methods to meet the demands of any given construction project. 

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

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Puerto Rico Financial Crisis Legislation Advances
AGC Supports Sensible Fiscal Reform for Path Forward
 

On May 25, the House Natural Resources Committee passed legislation that with sensible fiscal reforms—and no taxpayer dollars for a bailout—to address the financial crisis in Puerto Rico. The AGC-backed bill would create a debt-restructuring process, empower a federal oversight board to supervise the territory’s fiscal affairs and create a redevelopment authority that will help rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. As it stands, many Puerto Rican government entities are unable to pay contractors for work completed on government construction projects and the public and private construction markets there remain on life support.

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

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SAFETY
House Holds Hearing on OSHA’s New Recordkeeping Rule
AGC Outlines Concerns of Construction Industry in Letter
 

This week, AGC delivered a letter to the House Education and the Workforce Committee for a hearing that examined the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) rule on Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. AGC is concerned the rule will significantly limit how employers are able to enforce policies that have been established to ensure timely reporting of incidents, as well as implement and enforce other safety and health policies. The rule could discourage employers from administering post-accident drug testing, and the rule would also place employer safety incentive programs in jeopardy.

The committee hearing highlighted many of AGC’s concerns, and AGC is evaluating options for employers to comply with the rule as it’s fully implemented over the next several years.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
Bipartisan Support in House for Highway Trust Fund Fix
 

This week, 132 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Sander Levin (Mich.) in support of fixing the Highway Trust Fund as part of comprehensive tax reform.  Thanks to the AGC members who met with their representatives during the TCC Fly-In or contacted their representatives asking them to sign the letter.

The future challenges facing the trust fund are well documented.  Although the FAST Act provides five years of funding certainty, it did not provide a permanent solution for the trust fund.  With this letter, Representatives Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) are seeking to begin the conversation of addressing Highway Trust Fund as part of tax reform.

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

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House Committee Moves FY 2017 Transportation Funding
AGC-Backed Provision Restricting Transportation Department Pilot Program Remains
 

With Senate action already finished, the House Appropriations Committee this week approved the FY 2017 transportation appropriations bill. Both versions of the legislation maintain the funding levels set in the 2015 FAST Act, with highway funding set at $43.266 billion (up 2 percent from last year) and transit formula funding set at $9.734 billion (up 4.3 percent). Both bills include a key, AGC-backed provision that sets restrictions on the use of a U.S. DOT pilot program that enables state or local grant recipients to utilize local or geographical, economic-based, and veterans hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and federal transit projects. While there is still work to be done, inclusion of this provision puts us in a great position to continue the certification requirements in 2017. Both bills also include the truck driver hours of service provision that would retain use of the truck driver 34-hour “restart” without setting specific times when drivers must rest. There was an attempt in the House Committee to strip the restart language from the bill, but AGC was successful in defeating that amendment.

The House bill sets TIGER grant funding at $450 million, down 10 percent from last year’s $500 million and below the Senate level of $525 million. The House bill includes transit capital grants at $2.5 billion, higher than the FAST Act levels and an increase over the Senate’s level of $2.33 billion. The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants remain at the FY 2016 level of $3.35 billion in both the House and Senate bills. House consideration of the bill will occur following the Memorial Day recess.

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

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