Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 19, 2017
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On the Inside
TAX/ACCOUNTING
Senate Poised to Pass Budget Resolution, Setting Up Procedure to Consider Tax Reform
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Submits Recommendations to Army Corps on Regulation Reform
House and Senate Pass Defense Bill
WebEd: New FAR and DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements for Federal Contractors: What You Need to Know
ENVIRONMENT
U.S. EPA’s Directive to End ‘Sue and Settle’ Tactics Promises to Increase Integrity of Federal Rulemaking Process
TAX/ACCOUNTING
Senate Poised to Pass Budget Resolution, Setting Up Procedure to Consider Tax Reform
 

Earlier this week, the Senate voted to proceed on consideration of the budget resolution. The budget resolution sets forth the spending levels for Congress for the upcoming fiscal year, but also contains a mechanism to fast-track legislation in the Senate called “reconciliation.”  Reconciliation measures are also not subject to the filibuster in the Senate, meaning legislation can pass with a simple majority of 50 votes, rather than 60 votes.  The budget is expected to pass the Senate on a party line vote later this week.  After that, because the House and Senate budget resolutions are different, the two houses will have to resolve their differences in a conference committee, and the House and Senate will then have to pass the compromise budget.

Congressional Republicans plan to reserve the reconciliation process in the year’s budget resolution for tax reform.  It is expected that after the budget passes, the tax writing committees in the House and Senate will begin formally drafting tax reform legislation that follows the framework outlined by House Republican leaders in September.

AGC supports using the budget resolution to begin the process for tax reform, and signed a letter calling on Congress to pass the budget resolution.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Submits Recommendations to Army Corps on Regulation Reform
 

This week AGC submitted recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), highlighting the regulatory burden on the construction industry and offered specific program modifications and solutions relating to performing work with USACE. Among AGC recommendations are:

  • Merging NEPA/ CWA Section 404 permitting;
  • Reforms to Ease “Chokepoints” in 404 Program;
  • Reforming the Nationwide General Permits: acreage limits and pre-construction notification thresholds;
  • Clarifying and expanding the exemption for work in roadside ditches;
  • Improving USACE partnering with the Construction Industry; and
  • Reforming Safety Officer Accreditations.

AGC will continue to advocate for practical and real reforms with the federal agencies and congress.

To access AGC’s recommendations referenced above, click here

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

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House and Senate Pass Defense Bill
AGC Procurement Priorities Close to Finish Line, Blacklisting on the Radar
 

The House of Representatives and Senate have announced conferees for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA). The House and Senate conferees must now agree to a final version of the defense bill. The NDAA contains a host of AGC-backed federal construction procurement provisions important to construction contractors. Among the procurement items for AGC and its members in the legislation are:

  • Repeal temporary suspension of public-private competitions for conversion of Department of Defense functions to performance by contractors;
  • Enhanced post-award debriefing rights to require that all post-award debriefings must provide detailed and comprehensive statements of the agency’s rating for each evaluation criteria and of the agency’s overall award decision;
  • Limit contracting officers’ ability to unilaterally definitize action with a value greater than $1,000,000,000, if an agreement is not reached between the contracting officer and federal contractor
  • A provision allowing construction contractors to protest non-Department of Defense (DOD) agency task order contracts above $25 million before the General Accountability Office.

Of note, the Senate version of the bill contains a section, sponsored by Sen. Warren (Mass.), that would essentially resurrect the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (Blacklisting) Executive Order.  AGC has met with Senate offices and have worked with the Blacklisting Coalition to ensure this provision does not make it into the final bill.

AGC has long advocated for Congress to repeal the Blacklisting Executive Order through the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  Under the CRA, Congress can repeal the executive order’s implementing rules in their entirety and make it very difficult for a future president to undertake a similar regulatory initiative.  Congress listened and back in March Congress passed – and President Trump signed into law – a repeal of the Blacklisting Executive Order

AGC will continue to monitor the NDAA as it heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law, and will advocate for further reforms in the new Congress.

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

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WebEd: New FAR and DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements for Federal Contractors: What You Need to Know
November 9, 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST
 

Register today. Federal agencies now mandate minimum cybersecurity requirements for companies that do business with the federal government. Federal agencies now require federal contractors to implement new security control requirements and ensure sensitive federal information remains confidential when stored in any nonfederal electronic system. It began in 2016 with FAR 52.204-21 (Basic Safeguarding of Covered Contractor Information Systems). It continues with DFARS 252.204-7012 (Safeguarding Covered Defense Information & Cyber Incident Reporting), which becomes mandatory for all Department of Defense contracts beginning December 31, 2017.

This presentation will give an overview of the new cybersecurity requirements for contractors who contract with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, highlight the FAR and DFARS provisions that give this new rule teeth, and explore the potential impacts of compliance failure for federal contractors. Click here to register.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
U.S. EPA’s Directive to End ‘Sue and Settle’ Tactics Promises to Increase Integrity of Federal Rulemaking Process
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an agency-wide directive (and accompanying memo) on Oct. 16 that imposes steps to end the practice known as “sue and settle” – which is a quick resolution of citizen suits by environmental groups against the EPA, involving the agency’s failure to comply with statutory deadlines for issuance of regulations. Such agreements are oftentimes reached with little to no public input or transparency, EPA said, calling such a practice “regulation through litigation.”  AGC has long expressed concern that special interest groups are using these lawsuits to force the EPA to issue regulations that advance their interests and priorities.  The chief executive officer of AGC praised EPA for “putting an end to back room agreements ... [and] making sure that all affected parties have an opportunity to contribute to the discussion about measures needed to protect our environment.”

The Oct. 16 directive also sets a deadline of 15 days for EPA to publish public notice of legal complaints against EPA.  In addition, the directive calls for improved outreach to those affected by consent decrees or settlements and aims to block attorney fees and litigation costs from being included in any deals.

For more information, please contact AGC’s Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org or (703) 837-5332. Return to Top

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