Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org February 16, 2017
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On the Inside
REGULATIONS
House Panel Approves AGC-Supported Regulatory Reforms​
AGC Continues to Advocate for Improved Policies for Infrastructure Projects
LABOR
A New DOL Secretary Nominated
AGC Joins Letter to House Committee Ahead of Hearing on NLRB
TRANSPORTATION
FHWA Delays Greenhouse Gas Measures
FMCSA Delays Truck Driver Training Requirement
TAX
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Confirmed
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Questions for NAVFAC HQ? Submit them for FedCon
REGULATIONS
House Panel Approves AGC-Supported Regulatory Reforms​
 

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed three AGC-backed regulatory reform bills on Tuesday. The Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act, Regulatory Integrity Act, and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Insight, Reform and Accountability Act collectively would establish mechanisms to unwind obsolete, duplicative, overly burdensome, and ineffective regulations. The bills will likely move to the House floor for consideration in the coming weeks. 

AGC also supported several other regulatory reform bills that the House passed in January. Those bills are pending action in the Senate, which has been preoccupied with protracted cabinet confirmations. 

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

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AGC Continues to Advocate for Improved Policies for Infrastructure Projects
 

This week, AGC submitted comments to the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment for their hearing on “Modernizing Environmental Laws: Challenges and Opportunities for Expanding Infrastructure and Promoting Development and Manufacturing.” Representative David McKinley (R-W.V.) submitted AGC’s comments for the record during the hearing.

AGC’s comments focused on the need for fewer and smarter regulations, greater industry assistance and involvement, and reduced barriers to approving and moving forward on important infrastructure projects.  We have previously reached out to the Trump Administration and Congress with comprehensive recommendations on improving the regulatory landscape for the construction and industry and will continue to push for an infrastructure plan that not only provides increased funding but also removes the roadblocks to investment in infrastructure, development and manufacturing.

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

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LABOR
A New DOL Secretary Nominated
What it May Mean for Construction Contractors
 

Today President Trump nominated Alexander Acosta to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor.  The news comes one day after Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination. AGC issued a statement on the nomination of Acosta.  

Despite today’s nomination, the DOL Secretary position is likely to remain vacant for some time longer, construction contractors are unlikely to see regulatory actions to delay, change or unwind the previous administration's most controversial regulations any time soon.  In the absence of a confirmed Trump administration secretary and his staff, career DOL personnel are generally reluctant to make significant policy decisions--like withdrawing from litigation against the silica or overtime rules; revisiting the injury and illness record-keeping rule with controversial positions on post-injury drug testing and safety incentive programs; or rolling back the paid sick leave regulation for direct-federal contractors.  

Acosta will have to undergo review by a government ethics office, meet with senators, have a confirmation hearing and a confirmation vote. Despite Mr. Acosta having been previously confirmed by the Senate for prior government positions this couldtake several weeks. In the meantime, uncertainty will remain concerning the future of the previous administration's regulatory legacy. 

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC Joins Letter to House Committee Ahead of Hearing on NLRB
 

AGC joined a broad group of employer organizations on a letter to the Committee on Education and the Workforce for a hearing it held this week on “Restoring Balance and Fairness to the National Labor Relations Board.” The letter highlights the concerns with the NLRB’s August 2015 “joint employer” standard. AGC remains hopeful that the new board will eventually restore the traditional, common sense standard of joint employment liability based on “direct control”. At the same time, AGC is advocating that Congress enact a permanent legislative solution to the joint employer standard that provides certainty to employers.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
FHWA Delays Greenhouse Gas Measures
 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has delayed implementation of a rule requiring states to develop performance measurements for tracking Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for federal-aid highway projects. The delay was in response to a memorandum issued by President Trump on the first day of his administration freezing pending regulations until they can be reviewed. The freeze gives agencies time to determine if pending rules should be issued as proposed or if they should be rewritten or withdrawn entirely. The GHG rule was issued by the Obama Administration in its final days in response to a Congressional directive in MAP-21 to develop metrics to determine the effectiveness of federal investment in the performance of freight movement, congestion relief and the air quality program.

AGC questioned FHWA’s authority to issue the rule at the time and has since written to new Transportation Secretary Chao suggesting that it be rescinded, as AGC believes that the regulation goes beyond MAP-21 requirements. Not only did MAP-21 specify what performance standards were to be adopted, it also specifically did not include GHG emissions and furthermore told U.S. DOT to not go beyond the performance measurements articulated in the law.

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

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FMCSA Delays Truck Driver Training Requirement
 

Also in response to the Trump Administration’s regulatory freeze memo, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced postponement of the entry-level driver training final rule that was to go into effect on February 6. The effective date of the rule is being delayed until March 21. However, the rule will not be enforced for three years after it becomes effective. FMCSA said the delay is consistent with the memorandum’s directive to postpone for 60 days to allow time for a thorough review of certain regulations.

The rule established comprehensive national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The rule’s standards include mandatory training for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and the establishment of minimum qualifications for entities and individuals who provide entry-level driver training. AGC submitted comments on the rule when it was proposed and suggested that a requirement that entry level drivers must have 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving before they could become eligible for a CDL was excessive. FMCSA accepted AGC’s comment and dropped the 30 hour behind-the-wheel requirement. 

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

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TAX
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Confirmed
 

On Monday, the Senate confirmed Steven Mnuchin as the 77th Secretary of the Treasury by a 53-47 vote (one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin voted in favor). Later in the day, Vice President Pence swore Mnuchin into office during a ceremony presided over by President Trump in the Oval Office. Over the coming weeks, the Secretary will round out his team with advisors and await the Senate to approve top slots that require confirmation votes including his deputy secretary, undersecretaries for domestic finance and international affairs, as well as assistant secretaries of legislative affairs and tax policy, the latter being a key role in formulating and advancing the administration’s tax plan – the details of which are to be released in the coming weeks.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Questions for NAVFAC HQ? Submit them for FedCon
AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference; May 1-3 in D.C.
 

The difference between AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference (FedCon) and other federal construction meetings is that at FedCon construction contractor attendees drive the agenda. For this year’s conference—held May 1-3 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.—AGC is currently seeking your questions for consideration in meetings with headquarters leaders of the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). To see our draft agenda for the NAVFAC session, click here. To register for FedCon,click here.

At FedCon, construction contractor attendees lead the meetings and develop questions for federal agencies. There are robust discussions between attendees and federal agency representatives; not death by PowerPoint presentations.

In addition, learning about the latest projects and policies set to hit the street, FedCon provides an opportunity to address problems the construction industry faces when working for NAVFAC, including but not limited to: project delays, change orders, requests for equitable adjustments, claims, past performance evaluations and more.

For more information, please contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or 703-837-5368. Return to Top

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