Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 22, 2017
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
WORKFORCE
House Passes Career and Technical Education Bill, AGC Calls on Senate to Act
ASSOCIATION ISSUES
AGC Calls on Congress to Repeal Prior Approval Requirement for Trade Association PACís
HEALTH CARE
Senate Unveils Health Care Reform Bill, Outcome Remains Uncertain
TRANSPORTATION
Congress Begins Debate on FAA Reauthorization
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
AGC Meets with the Office of Management & Budget
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Congress Takes on Change Orders Delays
ELECTIONS
AGC-Backed Congressional Candidates Come Out on Top in Special Elections
WORKFORCE
House Passes Career and Technical Education Bill, AGC Calls on Senate to Act
Take Action: Tell Your Senator to Support CTE
 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act today by a voice vote. The bipartisan vote shows the broad support for the bill, which reforms and reinvigorates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) to meet the current workforce needs through better program alignment, better reporting, increased work-based learning, promoting industry-recognized credentials and increased federal investment. The bill generally addresses AGC’s recommendations and AGC is calling on the U.S. Senate to swiftly consider the bill. Contact your Senators and urge them to support the bill.

The Perkins bill authorizes funding for career and technical education programs, providing more than $1 billion annually to high schools and post-secondary vocational training programs. The bill was last authorized over a decade ago, and it no longer addresses the skills gap in today’s workforce. The legislation gives greater flexibility to states on how they spend their allotments, improves performance metrics and aligns the programs with other education and workforce training legislation: the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Similar to other education and workforce training programs, the success of the program rests on how it is ultimately implemented and how well employers collaborate and engage with educators in their local and state communities.

In addition to calling on the Senate to take up and swiftly pass the Perkins bill, AGC is urging Congress to fully fund the Perkins programs as a counter to the proposed Administration’s FY 18 budget request that slashed funding for these programs.  

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
ASSOCIATION ISSUES
AGC Calls on Congress to Repeal Prior Approval Requirement for Trade Association PACís
 

On Tuesday, AGC of America joined 113 other national trade associations in calling for members of the US House of Representatives to support H.R. 2101 - the Prior Approval Reform Act. You can help our efforts by contacting your representative and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 2101 – the Prior Approval Reform Act.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV-2), would repeal the Federal Election Campaign Act’s “prior approval” requirement for corporate member trade association political action committees (PACs). In summary, this requirement discriminates against these associations by making their PACs the only political committees that must first obtain exclusive permission from member corporations before soliciting eligible employees for support. The Act’s onerous prior approval requirement is a relic from the past that is discriminatory, restricts First Amendment rights, and creates burdensome compliance costs and confusion.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
HEALTH CARE
Senate Unveils Health Care Reform Bill, Outcome Remains Uncertain
Senate Slowly Moves Closer to Ending Health Care Debate
 

Today, Senate Republicans unveiled their much anticipated version of health care reform several months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Despite today’s action, the past six months of heated and contentious negotiations among Republicans and the administration on the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is bound to continue. Today’s announcement is one step closer to disposing of the health care debate in Congress so focus can shift towards other AGC priorities such as advancing infrastructure investment and tax reform.

AGC opposed the ACA because we did not believe that it created a framework to reduce health care costs, but instead increased new compliance and complexity problems for employers. AGC’s quick read of the Senate version shows it is designed to reduce complexity and compliance problems for employers and help reduce the cost of health care so employers can maintain and expand the health care benefits they offer their employees. AGC has long supported the employer-provided health care model while, at the same time, ensuring that it is easy and affordable for employers to provide coverage to their employees. AGC supports increased flexibility for construction employers to allow them the ability to expand coverage to their employees, while limiting the financial hardships of purchasing health care services and the repealing of onerous taxes will lead to health insurance premium savings. While the bill does repeal most of the ACA tax increases, it only delays the Cadillac tax until 2026 due to procedural restrictions in Congress. AGC would like to see health care reform repeal all the Affordable Care Act taxes, including the Cadillac tax.

A vote in the Senate could occur as early as next week. The bill is likely to change prior to that happening. AGC will continue to compare the repeal bills against AGC policy priorities and advocate for additional reforms.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TRANSPORTATION
Congress Begins Debate on FAA Reauthorization
 

This week, the House and Senate revealed their respective bills to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  Prior to the bills being released, the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent letters in support of increased funding for the FAA’s main infrastructure funding program, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and raising the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).  The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee will mark up their respective bills next week.

Although both bills provide slight increases for AIP – from $3.35 billion in 2017 to $3.817 billion in 2023 in the House bill and and to $3.75 billion in 2021 in the Senate bill – they fail to modernize the PFC, which has been capped at $4.50 and hasn’t been raised since 2000.   Without significant increases in AIP and lifting the cap on PFC, airports will have a difficult time addressing the estimated $20 billion in annual infrastructure improvements. AGC was able to secure language in the Senate bill that increases the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) size standard for the AIP program, while also ensuring that there is one size standard for all businesses participating in the AIP DBE program.

The starkest and most controversial difference between the bills is that the House version that hands over the FAA’s Air Traffic Control operations to a new non-profit corporation, while leaving the FAA in charge of safety regulation and airport grants.  This proposal faces a significant level of bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate and could potentially delay the bill from passing prior to the Sept. 30 expiration of the current FAA authorization.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
AGC Meets with the Office of Management & Budget
Discuss Federal Agency Reforms
 

On June 9, AGC met with senior officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss ways to restructure federal agencies, improve the functions of federal procurement, and prevent agencies from duplicating and directly competing with the private sector for activities already performed by construction companies. On March 13, the President signed an Executive Order that aims to make the federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable. This Executive Order directs the Office of Management and Budget to present the president with a plan that recommends ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary programs within government agencies.

Among some of the reforms AGC urged were:

  • Rescind President Obama’s Executive Order mandating government agencies to use Project Labor Agreements (PLA) in large-scale federal construction projects where the total cost to the government is $25 million or more;
  • Eliminate the General Services Administration’s PLA preference policy that gives additional points to contractor bids for including a PLA;
  • Reform the federally assisted construction acquisition processes;
  • Recalibrating the federal real estate portfolio management system for long-term savings;
  • Dispose of excess civilian federal real property;
  • Streamline the federal environmental review & permitting processes;
  • Evaluate the disadvantaged business enterprise program for effectiveness; and
  • Shorten and standardize the statute of limitation for challenges to claims seeking judicial review of an environmental permit, license or approval issued by a Federal agency for an infrastructure project.

AGC continues to be at the forefront of federal reform in order to create a contractor-friendly environment and help federal owners and contractors deliver construction projects in a safe, efficient and timely manner. Late last year, AGC shared its federal agency regulatory, compliance and enforcement plan – titled “Make Federal Agencies Responsible Again” – with members of the Trump Presidential Transitional Team.

For more information, contact jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Congress Takes on Change Orders Delays
Bill Encourages Agency Change Order Accountability
 

On June 15, the House Small Business Committee passed, by a bipartisan vote of 21-0, the AGC-supported “Small Business Payment for Performance Act of 2017.” The bill will ensure small business federal contractors get paid sooner for change orders. Specifically, the legislation requires a federal agency that receives a request for equitable adjustment (REA) to pay 50% of the billed change order work amount in a timely manner to offset extra costs. This practice is common in the private industry, including in ConsensusDocs Contract Documents, but absent in federal contracts. Last month, AGC members Ed DeLisle and Andy Brown testified before the House Small Business Committee on change order delays and the impacts these have on federal construction contractors. Many House Small Business Committee members referenced the hearing as a motivating factor for their support of H.R. 2594 and accompanying amendments.

“For small businesses, federal contracts can lead to good jobs, but can also result in many headaches. While businesses regularly deal with change orders in the private sector, contractors and subcontractors on federal construction projects are often forced to bear a financial burden by the slow process of approval. Some federal agencies routinely delay the approval process until the end of the project. That isn’t fair. The Small Business Payment for Performance Act stands up for small businesses by requiring federal agencies to make interim partial payments to contractors, allowing them to pay their own bills without being delayed until the end of the project. It’s common sense,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

AGC is at the forefront in advocating for greater accountability of the change order process among the different federal agencies. In March, the House of Representative’s Small Business Committee requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a review of the use of change orders on federal construction contracts. This bipartisan request was a direct result of AGC’s efforts with both parties in Congress to address the many issues associated with change orders. AGC previously called on the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council to improve the data federal agencies collect regarding the administration of change orders in response to the Council’s information request. AGC’s recommendations would require federal agencies to collect a range of data regarding the timeliness of action by the contracting officer (CO) to encourage greater CO accountability.  

For more information, contact jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
ELECTIONS
AGC-Backed Congressional Candidates Come Out on Top in Special Elections
 

The sixth district of Georgia saw a huge turnout of more than 200,000 voters in Tuesday evening’s match-up between Republican candidate Karen Handel and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. Ms. Handel, the former Georgia Secretary of State who was supported by AGC PAC, topped ex-congressional aide Jon Ossoff by a 52-48 percent margin. Ms. Handel takes Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s former congressional seat.

Simultaneously, over 200 miles away in central South Carolina, AGC PAC-backed Republican Ralph Norman claimed the special congressional election with a close 51-49 percent win over Democrat Archie Parnell from a small turnout of just over 87,000 voters. Norman started his career helping to build his father’s property and construction business and later moved into real estate development. Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney left open this seat to assume his national position.

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