Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 31, 2017
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
Tell Congress to Fund Infrastructure in Tax Reform
Department of Transportation to Withdraw Local Hire Rule
LABOR
OMB Halts New EEO-1 Pay Data Collection Requirements; Original EEO-1 Reporting Still in Effect
APPROPRIATIONS/DEBT LIMIT
Congress Returns Next Week to a Full Plate
Congress Faces Debt Limit Vote This Fall
AGC EVENTS
Looking for Tools to Grow your Business? Register for AGCís Contractor Development WebEd Series
Early Bird Rate Ends Tomorrow for the Highway, Transportation & Utility Infrastructure Conference
Register for the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
TRANSPORTATION
Tell Congress to Fund Infrastructure in Tax Reform
Contact your Representatives and Senators
 

There is still time before the end of the August congressional recess for you to reach out to your representative and senators and tell them to fix the Highway Trust Fund as part of tax reform and invest in transportation infrastructure. Congress does not return to Washington until next Tuesday and we encourage all our members to use this time to meet with and email your members of Congress and tell them to include a permanent Highway Trust Fund fix as part of any tax reform or new infrastructure initiative.

The Hardhats for Highways site has additional information including a TCC background document and talking points for your visits.

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

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Department of Transportation to Withdraw Local Hire Rule
 

According to its August Significant Rulemaking Report, the Department of Transportation (DOT) intends to terminate its proposed rule to allow states to impose local hire requirements on contractors working on Federal-aid highway projects. While DOT never finalized this rule, the Obama Administration establish a one year pilot program allowing states to use local hire requirements on an experimental basis. In a last-minute action before the end of its term, the Obama administration extended the pilot program for an additional five years. Last week’s notice expresses DOT's intent to terminate the permanent rule but does not address the pilot program. However, DOT is expected to eliminate the pilot program as well.

AGC has opposed this rule from its inception in comments on the proposal. AGC also discussed our opposition in a meeting with Transportation Secretary Chao early in her term and in letters to DOT on its efforts to reduce regulatory burdens. AGC was also successful in getting language in the DOT appropriations legislation requiring states, in order to receive permission to use a local hire preference, to certify that there is a ready pool of unemployed individuals who reside in the jurisdiction who have the necessary construction skills for the project, that the contractor would not be forced to lay off any current employees to meet the mandate and that the cost of the construction would not increase. FHWA is requiring states using a local hire requirement to meet these certification requirements.

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

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LABOR
OMB Halts New EEO-1 Pay Data Collection Requirements; Original EEO-1 Reporting Still in Effect
 

On Aug. 29, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) informed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that it is initiating a review and immediate stay of the effectiveness of the pay data collection aspects of the EEO-1 form that was revised on Sept. 29, 2016, in accordance with its authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). OMB’s decision follows AGC’s regulatory recommendations, specifically that the new EEO-1 requirements were unnecessary and burdensome.

OMB’s action does not completely rescind the revised EEO-1 Report, but it does relieve employers of their obligation to file the new “Component 2” (W-2 pay and FLSA hours worked information). The previously approved EEO-1 form which collects data on race, ethnicity and gender by occupational category will remain in effect. Employers should plan to comply with the earlier approved EEO-1 (Component 1) by the previously set filing date of March 2018.

AGC opposed the new data collection, calling upon the Trump administration and Congress to rescind the Obama administration Presidential Memorandum ordering the new EEO-1 form, and the form itself. AGC submitted comprehensive comments explaining its position to the EEOC in April and August 2016. AGC also testified against this new requirement before Congress in September 2016. 

AGC commends OMB and the EEOC for providing contractors with the necessary regulatory relief and will notify members of any further developments.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382. Return to Top

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APPROPRIATIONS/DEBT LIMIT
Congress Returns Next Week to a Full Plate
Deadlines Loom, Hurricane Harvey Relief Needed, Shutdown Unlikely
 

Congress returns next week with only 12 legislative days to deal with several looming deadlines before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Once again, Congress has failed to send any of their annual appropriations bills to the president’s desk for his signature and, as a result, a continuing resolution will have to be in place prior to the end of the fiscal year in order to prevent a government shutdown.  Congress must also deal with raising the debt limit and the expiration of authorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program. 

As recently as last week, battles over raising the debt limit and funding the government seemed inevitable. However, the much-needed aid to help Hurricane Harvey cleanup and recovery efforts appears to put off some of those battles – at least for now.  It is speculated that Congress is likely to combine emergency aid for Harvey with a continuing resolution and a debt-limit increase. This scenario would almost ensure passage and avoid a presidential veto, even if the package omits funding for a border wall.

As with most things in Washington, nothing is guaranteed but it does appear that the need to act on Hurricane Harvey relief will delay some of the battles that President Trump and Congress were gearing up for in September.

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

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Congress Faces Debt Limit Vote This Fall
 

One of the many pressing issues that Congress will face this fall is rasing the nation’s debt limit.  Previously, Congress enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which suspended the debt limit until March 15, 2017.  Since then, the Treasury Department has used “extraordinary measures” to finance the federal government’s obligations. Eventually, Treasury will exhaust its available options of extraordinary measures, and the government would (under a worst case scenario) face a potential default on its obligations.  While the exact date when this would happen varies depending on, for example, how much revenue Treasury collects, Secretary Mnuchin said it is “critical that Congress act to increase the nation’s borrowing authority by September 29.”

In recent years, Congress has used the pressure of the debt ceiling to enact legislation that would deal with the nation’s long-term debt.  For example, in 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which created Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (also known as the “super committee”) to develop $1.2 Trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.  When the super committee failed to produce legislation, this resulted in “budget sequestration” of $1.2 Trillion in spending cuts to defense and non-defense spending, which AGC opposed due to its impact on federal infrastructure programs.

Since then, Congress has suspended or raised the debt limit four times.  At this time, it is unclear if members of Congress will demand deficit reduction in conjunction with passing an increase in the borrowing limit, but there is a very short window for Congress to act.  While it is expected that Congress will vote to raise the debt limit before the end of September, AGC will monitor any legislative developments that could hamper the construction industry’s priorities.

For more information, contact Matthew Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. Return to Top

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AGC EVENTS
Looking for Tools to Grow your Business? Register for AGCís Contractor Development WebEd Series
FREE to AGC members | $495 for Non-members
 

Whether you are a small contractor, emerging firm or looking to tighten up your organization’s business tactics and strategies, AGC’s Contractor Development WebEd Series will provide contractors with practical guidance to improve core business management practices such as estimating and bidding, cash-flow management and partnering. The first WebEd, titled “Using Predictive Analytics to Enhance Project Execution and Grow the Bottom Line,” will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 4 and will feature Steve Coughran, Founder & Director of Strategy at Coltivar Group. Steve will teach you how to incorporate predictive analytics into your business to power data-driven strategic, financial, and operational decisions.

For more information and to register for the series, visit meetings.agc.org/contractordevelopment or contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org or (703) 837-5376.  Return to Top

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Early Bird Rate Ends Tomorrow for the Highway, Transportation & Utility Infrastructure Conference
Donít Miss Out: Register Today!
 

The 2017 Highway, Transportation and Utility Infrastructure Conference will take place Nov. 1-3, 2017 at the Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference features excellent speakers and group interaction on a number of topics impacting the transportation and utility infrastructure construction market including: silica rule compliance, Gold Shovel Standard, future market trends, Trump Administration infrastructure initiative and more.

This year’s meeting runs from Wednesday to Friday and will again feature a preliminary golf tournament to prepare you for two days of intense learning. Join your industry colleagues in Phoenix. Register today.

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

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Register for the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
 

Jointly sponsored by AGC and CFMA, the 21st Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference will be held Nov. 1-3, 2017 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. This three-day conference offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. The 34 interactive sessions will cover the latest industry issues and their financial implications. Participants may earn up to 20.5 continuing professional education (CPE) credits. 

For more information, contact Matthew Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. Return to Top

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