“Blacklisting” Rule Finally Dies, Marking Big Win for AGC Members
Thanks in part to AGC’s advocacy efforts, contractors are
enjoying a major victory today:
permanent nullification of regulations implementing President
Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive
Order, often referred to as the “blacklisting” rule. On March 27, President
Trump signed into law a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act
(CRA) by which Congress expressed disapproval of the rule and stripped it of
all force and effect.
Under the blacklisting rule, both prime and
subcontractors were required to report violations and alleged violations of 14
federal labor laws and “equivalent” state labor laws during the previous three
years, and again every six months, on federal contracts over $500,000. Prime
contractors were also responsible for evaluating the labor law violations of
subcontractors at all tiers. A single alleged violation could have led a
contracting officer to remove a contractor from an ongoing project or to deny
to a contractor the right to compete for a contract. The rule also required
contractors to provide certain pay information to employees and independent
contractors, and it limited the use of mandatory arbitration of employment
disputes. All but the paycheck transparency provisions had been on temporary
hold since a federal court issued preliminary injunction in October 2016.
“To be clear, there should be no
place in federal contracting for unsafe or unscrupulous firms. Yet the former president’s
measure did nothing to reform or improve the existing suspension and debarment
process,” said AGC Chief Executive Officer Steve Sandherr. “Instead, it created
a new layer of bureaucracy that would have given federal officials broad
discretion to punish construction firms based on any number of unsubstantiated
allegations without establishing a process for those firms to defend themselves.
That is why the Associated General Contractors worked so aggressively to push
for passage of today’s repeal measure.”
The CRA enables Congress to invalidate recently-issued
federal agency regulations under certain circumstances. Once Congress passes a
joint resolution under the CRA and the president signs it into law, federal
agencies may not issue the same, or a substantially similar, regulation absent
authorization from Congress. Accordingly, Congress’s and the president’s use of
the CRA to “kill” the blacklisting rule is considered a better outcome than the
President simply withdrawing the executive order and regulations. Enactment of
the present resolution also renders continued litigation over the rule moot.
Unwinding the paycheck transparency requirements that
were already in effect at the time president Trump signed the resolution may
take time, and some federal contracting officers may not be aware of this
development. Contractors responding to a request for proposal that includes FAR
52.22-60, Paycheck Transparency (Executive Order 13673), should ask the
contracting officer to remove the provision in light of this development. Contractors
already performing work on a contract that incorporates FAR 52.222-60 should
consider evaluating the burden of continued compliance, and, if significant,
ask the contracting officer to remove the clause by modification.
more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Denise Gold at 703-837-5326 or email@example.com.
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New Executive Order Scraps Several Permitting Review Hurdles
28, 2017, President Trump signed a new executive order that rescinds, as recommended by AGC, several Obama administration
environmental review/permitting hurdles that could have delayed construction
projects. The order, entitled “Promoting Energy
Independence and Economic Growth,” rescinds Council on
Environmental Quality guidance
that required federal agencies to quantify and additionally consider direct and
indirect greenhouse gas emissions for construction projects during the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, for which environmental impact
statements already take 4.6 years on average to complete. The order also
rescinds an Obama presidential
created sweeping new authority for several federal permitting agencies,
establishing a preference for compensatory
restore, establish, or enhance the environment within the scope of a
construction project where unavoidable adverse environmental impacts may occur.
The order notes
that changing or rescinding some of these actions may involve additional notice
and comment period to be consistent with the law, which will take time. It does
not address how existing case law that upholds certain considerations of greenhouse
gasses during NEPA review will continue to affect how agencies handle those
impacts. AGC will follow up with additional analysis of the impact of this
order on the construction industry.
For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at
(703) 837-5415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Legislation to Prohibit Government Mandated PLAs Advances in Congress
Contact Your Members of Congress and the President
The AGC-supported “Fair
and Open Competition Act” passed the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee this week. 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 bill would
preserve the right of contractors and unions to voluntarily negotiate and
execute project labor agreements on federal projects, if they so choose. There
is no timeline for if or when the full House would consider the legislation, or
if the Senate would consider its companion bill.
AGC is committed to full and
open competition for all public projects and urged the Committee to support the legislation. Contact your members
of Congress and
urge them to support passage of the “Fair and Open Competition Act” and
petition President Trump to repeal President Obama’s Government-Mandated PLA
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 Jim Young at email@example.com or (202) 547-0133.
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AGC Defends Muni-Bonds
AGC joined our partners in the Don’t Mess
With Our Bonds coalition in urging House and Senate leaders to preserve the tax-exempt status for municipal bonds
as they begin discussions on tax reform. Tax-exempt municipal bonds have been
used to finance critical infrastructure including the construction of schools,
hospitals, airports, affordable housing, water and sewer facilities, public
power and gas utilities, roads and public transit.
bonds have been the primary method by which state and local governments finance
public capital improvements and infrastructure construction, and any proposals
to reduce or repeal the tax exemption would severely hamper these governments’
ability to meet their infrastructure needs.
continue to work with our coalition partners to maintain the tax-exempt status
of municipal bonds.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (202) 547-8892.
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Infrastructure Funding Targeted for Reduction in President Trump’s Budget Outline
Tell your Senators and Representative to Maintain Funding for these Programs
President Trump recently 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.
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 Trump’s proposed cuts to infrastructure programs.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at email@example.com or (202)
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Early-Bird Extended for AGC’s Financial Issues Summer Meeting
Early-Bird Registration Ends April 14
The AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Summer Meeting will be held June 27-28, 2017,
at the Loews Minneapolis. Visit the meeting site to register TODAY & book your stay!
reform moving front and center and the IRS seeking comments on FASBs Revenue
Recognition standard, discussions with this year’s featured speakers will be
critical. This year’s lineup includes senior tax-writer Congressman Erik
Paulsen (R-MN) invited, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson, and
insightful FASB staff.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (202)
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Take Advantage of the Federal Contractors Conference Room Rate
Only A Few Rooms Remain
We are just 32 days away from the 2017 Federal Contractors Conference,
held May 1-3 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Mayflower Hotel
rooms are full, but AGC has reserved a limited number of additional rooms at
the nearby Loews Madison Hotel. Make
your Loews Madison Hotel
reservation now to
get the AGC discounted room rate.
Register today for AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference, the premier conference
for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies,
and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies. This
conference offers the latest project forecasts, expert insight on upcoming
regulatory hurdles, and ample networking opportunities with agency decision
makers that are critical to being competitive in the federal construction
Join construction industry leaders and their federal agency
counterparts at the Federal Contractors Conference.
Click on the agency to see the draft
Corps of Engineers
Facility Engineering Command
of Veterans Affairs
Force Civil Engineer Center
Resources Conservation Service
To register for AGC’s Federal
Contractors Conference, click here.
For more information, contact Jordan
Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703)
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