Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org March 23, 2017
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On the Inside
SAFETY
Congress Rolls Back Misguided OSHA Rule
Ready to Comply with OSHAís Silica Rule in June?
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
Infrastructure Funding Targeted for Reduction in President Trumpís Budget Outline
House Introduces AGC-Supported Gas Tax Bill
AGC Pushes for Increased Airport Construction
REGULATIONS
Federal Regulatory Freeze Ends
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Calls for Review and Rejection of New EEO-1 Report
Legislation to Prohibit Government Mandated PLAs Introduced in Congress
Agency Requests Proposals on the Southern Border Wall
AGC EVENTS
TCC Fly-In/State Funding Workshop Scheduled
Register for AGCís Financial Issues Summer Meeting
SAFETY
Congress Rolls Back Misguided OSHA Rule
Awaits Presidentís Signature
 

This week, the Senate followed the House in passing a bill that repeals the OSHA “Volks” Rule and it now heads to the president’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law. AGC led a lobbying effort in passing the bill and issued a statement after the vote that the bill will preserve worker safety while protecting the constitution and respecting court rulings.

At the heart of the Volks matter was an Obama Administration OSHA rule issued in December that exposed employers to unfair liability for honest and inadvertent paperwork mistakes related to recordkeeping. The rule extended the statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations from six months to five and a half years, and did nothing to improve the safety or health of a company’s workers. The rule was initially issued by OSHA to circumvent a court decision involving a construction company that challenged an OSHA citation for a recordkeeping violation issued beyond six months. Two federal courts have since rebuked OSHA’s theory for issuing recordkeeping citations after six months.

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

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Ready to Comply with OSHAís Silica Rule in June?
AGC Provides Educational Materials for Contractors
 

Beginning on June 23, 2017, contractors must comply with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s respirable crystalline standard for construction.  To help educate AGC members, AGC has developed the “Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction” webpage designed to provide contractors with a better understanding of what is expected of them from OSHA.

The information on the page includes the following:

The standard – finalized on March 25, 2016 – provides a comprehensive and complex regulatory scheme for protecting construction workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica containing dust.  The scope of the standard applies to all occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica and significantly lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) from 250 micrograms/m3 to 50 micrograms/m3.  In addition to the new PEL, contractors will also have to comply with a host of ancillary provisions such as respiratory protection (when required by the standard), housekeeping, medical surveillance, and recordkeeping. 

AGC staff will continue to develop additional materials so check back periodically to see what’s new. 

For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org or (703) 837-5410.   Return to Top

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INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
Infrastructure Funding Targeted for Reduction in President Trumpís Budget Outline
Tell your Senators and Representative to Maintain Funding for these Programs
 

Last week, President Trump released a budget outline to identify administration priorities for Fiscal Year 2018. This budget outline is a mixed bag for federal infrastructure accounts as it proposes to cut billions in federal spending from construction-related programs. Proposed cuts include: a $2.4 billion reduction for the Department of Transportation by eliminating the TIGER grant program and limiting funding for the transit new starts grant program, eliminating the Agriculture Department’s Water and Wastewater grant program funding of $498 million and eliminating the Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant funding of $3 billion. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to maintain funding for these critical infrastructure investment programs.

While we look forward to working with the administration on the president’s promised infrastructure investment initiative, in the meantime, AGC supports maintaining funding for existing infrastructure programs. Contact your senators and representatives to urge them to ignore the cuts to infrastructure programs that were proposed in President Trump’s FY 2018 budget outline.

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

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House Introduces AGC-Supported Gas Tax Bill
 

This week, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio (Ore), introduced the AGC-supported Investing in America: A Penny for Progress Act, which would provide approximately $500 billion – a 30 percent increase – in infrastructure investment for federal surface transportation programs. The bill finances these investments by authorizing Invest in America 30-year Treasury bonds, annually, through 2030. The bonds will be repaid through indexing federal gas and diesel taxes to the National Construction Cost Index and reduced motor fuel usage for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. According to Rep DeFazio’s office, the bill is estimated to raise the gas and diesel takes by approximately 1 cent per year and includes a hard cap of 1.5 cents per year.  For more information on the bill and a full list of supporters, click here.

While AGC supports Rep DeFazio’s legislation, which addresses our surface transportation needs through 2030, we will continue to focus our efforts on providing  a permanent solution for the chronic Highway Trust Fund shortfall.

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

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AGC Pushes for Increased Airport Construction
 

AGC sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operation, Safety, and Security Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) expressing our support for increasing funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and lifting the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge.  The letter was submitted to the subcommittee as part of their hearing “FAA Reauthorization: Perspectives on Improving Airport Infrastructure and Aviation Manufacturing.” 

In addition, AGC shared our support for increasing the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) size standard for businesses participating in the AIP DBE programs and for the use of state pavement specifications on small airport construction jobs.

AGC will continue to ensure that the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization includes pro-construction policies and provides increased investment for airport infrastructure

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

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REGULATIONS
Federal Regulatory Freeze Ends
AGC Updates on Major Regulations/Executive Orders
 

On March 22, the federal regulatory freeze put in place by the Trump administration since January 20 came to a close. As a result, federal agencies will look to move ahead with their regulatory agendas by proposing new regulations and finalizing ones in the cue. However, over the last 60 days, the president has issued several executive orders calling for the elimination of two regulations for each new regulation and the establishment of deregulatory task forces at each agency.

How agencies’ regulatory operations will work in conjunction with these new executive actions is yet to be seen. It is unlikely that the flood gates of new regulations will be open with the end of the regulatory freeze. Similarly, deregulatory actions will also take time to undertake. There are still many agency heads that have not been confirmed by the Senate, and many others continue to review pending or recent regulations.

AGC continues to take action on the regulatory front and has detailed analysis and updates on major regulations and executive orders impacting—or potentially impacting the construction industry. For the latest on the 2017 Regulatory Road Ahead, click here. For the latest on President Trump’s Executive Actions/Orders, click here.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Calls for Review and Rejection of New EEO-1 Report
 

On March 17, AGC and industry allies called for the Trump administration to review and reject the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) expansion of data reporting in the new EEO-1 form. The EEOC’s revisions to the EEO-1 form do not comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act. For example, as a result of EEOC’s changes, the EEO-1 form has been expanded from 180 to 3660 data cells.  By itself, this exponential increase in the amount of solicited data speaks volumes with regard to the burdensome nature of the new EEO-1 form.

As a reminder, the EEOC announced last year that starting March 2018, it will collect summary employee wage and hours-worked data from some employers concerning employee race, sex, gender and ethnicity, among other bases.  This reporting requirement is in addition to Davis-Bacon related information reporting. Under this requirement, certain employers are required to use new EEO-1 form in March 2018, when 2017 data will be reported.  For more AGC information on this new requirement, click here. For helpful EEOC information, click here. For a sample of the new form, click here.

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

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Legislation to Prohibit Government Mandated PLAs Introduced in Congress
Contact Your Members of Congress and the President
 

 Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) recently introduced the AGC-supported “Fair and Open Competition Act” in both the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. The legislation would prohibit federal contracting agencies from mandating that contractors and unions enter project labor agreements (PLAs) on direct federal projects. In addition, the bills would preserve the right of contractors and unions to voluntarily negotiate and execute project labor agreements on federal projects, if they so choose. AGC is committed to full and open competition for all public projects. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support passage of the “Fair and Open Competition Act”. In addition, send a letter to President Trump urging him to repeal President Obama’s Government-Mandated PLA executive order.

On February 6, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13502, which encourages government agencies to use PLA’s in large-scale federal construction projects where the total cost to the Government is $25 million or more. AGC strongly believes that the choice of whether to adopt a collective bargaining agreement should be left to the contractor-employers and their employees, and that choice should not be imposed as a condition to competing for, or performing on, a publicly funded project. Government mandates and preferences for PLAs can restrain competition, drive up costs, cause delays, lead to jobsite disputes, and disrupt local collective bargaining. In cases where use of a PLA would benefit a project, the construction contractors otherwise qualified to perform the work would be the first to recognize that fact and to adopt a PLA voluntarily.

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

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Agency Requests Proposals on the Southern Border Wall
 

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued two requests for proposals (RFP) for the extension of the southern border wall with Mexico. One for a “Solid Concrete Border Wall” RFP and one for the “Other Border Wall.” Apart from the solid concrete design, both RFPs are nearly identical.

Customs and Border Protection intends to issue multiple award Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts. The procurement will be conducted in a two-phase process, and CBP intends to invite up to 20 offerors from among those who submitted Phase I into the Phase II proposal and evaluation process. Contractors must submit their bids before 4 pm EST on March 29.

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

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AGC EVENTS
TCC Fly-In/State Funding Workshop Scheduled
Register Today
 

2017 could be the year of infrastructure in Washington, D.C. President Trump highlighted rebuilding infrastructure during his campaign, again on election night, and as part of his inaugural address. Additionally, both the House and Senate have already held hearings to highlight infrastructure issues.  As we await details about the Trump Infrastructure Initiative, one thing is clear, the construction industry’s involvement into its development and enactment by Congress is vitally important to its success. The 16th Annual Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Legislative Fly-In, scheduled for May 17-18, 2017 is well-timed to provide an opportunity for that input.

Join hundreds of other industry leaders in delivering the construction industry’s message on Capitol Hill in May. As part of the Fly-In, AGC has scheduled a one day workshop on Elements of a Successful State Funding Campaign.

The agenda will cover:

  • AGC Chapter Successes in Getting a Funding Increase enacted
  • How to Utilize Social Media to Reach the Broadest Audience
  • Use of Digital Advertising for Cost Effective Outreach
  • Generating\Utilizing Traditional Media
  • How does TRIP fit into State Campaigns
  • What economic Data is Helpful in Your Campaign

For more information and to register visit www.agc.org/tcc_fly-in or contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org Return to Top

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Register for AGCís Financial Issues Summer Meeting
Early Bird Registration Ends March 31
 

The AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Summer Meeting will be held June 27-28 at the Loews Minneapolis. Visit the meeting site to register and book your stay! Featured speakers (invited) include senior tax-writer Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson, and FASB staff.

The Committee is geared toward member company CFOs, Controllers, Tax Directors, Sureties 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. Meetings center around discussions with FASB, practitioners, and financial officer breakout groups on topics including internal controls, project performance reviews and cybersecurity solutions. Attendees also have an opportunity to network and discuss a wide variety of topics, including: audit issues faced by construction companies; Executive & Congressional action on federal tax policy; and best practices for industry professionals.

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

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