Senate Advances Tax Reform Legislation
Tell Your Elected Officials to Include Construction Industry Priorities
The Senate made significant progress towards passing tax
reform legislation this week. However, AGC still has concerns with the
legislation as-is and asks you to continue contacting your members of Congress,
urging them to treat S-corps fairly as compared to C-corps and maintain incentives for public and private
construction in tax reform.
On Nov. 29, the Senate passed a key procedural hurdle by
voting to “proceed” on the legislation, allowing the Senate to consider the
legislation under a time-limited debate (20 hours) and a 50 vote basis. Typically,
this expedited procedure results in a large number of amendments being offered by the
minority party with very little time for debate.
Before the debate began, two Senators (Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
and Steve Daines (R-Mont.)) had raised concerns—shared by AGC—that the Senate
bill would disproportionately favor C-corporations, relative to pass-through
businesses such as S-corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, and sole proprietorships.
It was widely reported that, as a result
of the efforts of these two Senators, the bill would increase the size of the
“pass-through deduction” from 17.4 percent to 20 percent. While this is
certainly an improvement over the original legislation, the deduction is still somewhat
limited, as outlined in this chart, based on the
characteristics of each business. AGC will continue to monitor the amendments
filed during the Senate debate and support any that would improve the
legislation to benefit the construction industry.
If the legislation passes – as expected – later this week,
the House and Senate will convene a “conference committee” to resolve the differences between the House and Senate
legislation. AGC will work to ensure that the final conference report
contains the best provisions from each bill for construction.
For any questions, please contact Matthew Turkstra at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Return to Top
OSHA Extends Compliance Date for Submitting Injury and Illness Data
New Deadline: Dec. 15, 2017
On Nov., 24, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) published afinal rule extending the deadline for submitting injury and illness data to
Dec. 15 to allow affected entities sufficient
time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system. In August, OSHA launched the web-based Injury Tracking
Application (ITA), which allows employers to electronically submit the required data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A –
the only information required for the 2017 submission. The application will be
accessible from the ITA webpage.
The data submission process involves four steps: (1)
Creating an establishment; (2) adding 300A summary data; (3) submitting data to
OSHA; and (4) reviewing the confirmation email. The secure website offers three
options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter
data into a web form. Another option will give users the ability to upload a
CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. A third
option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically
via an application programming interface.
webpage also includes information on reporting requirements, a list of
frequently asked questions and a link to request assistance with completing the
also important to note that the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not
yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports
electronically: CA, MD, MN, SC, UT, WA and WY. Establishments in these states
are not currently required to submit their summary data through the ITA.
For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410
Return to Top
AGC Silica Standard Resources to Help Members Understand Compliance Responsibilities
On Oct. 23, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health
Administration began full enforcement of its respirable crystalline silica
standard for construction. To help educate members, AGC developed the “Respirable
Crystalline Silica in Construction” webpage with a host of
resources—sample forms, webinars, flowcharts, FAQs, and more—to help AGC
members understand their compliance responsibilities.
Most recently, AGC developed a silica inspection reporting
form to track enforcement. OSHA has not yet released the standard’s
companion compliance directive and their interim enforcement guidance is
incomplete. AGC believes that this could result in inconsistent enforcement
across regions. If your site has been subjected to an OSHA silica compliance
inspection or silica compliance was assessed as part of another OSHA
inspection, please consider sharing the details of the inspection with AGC by
completing this form. No identifying information will be collected. AGC will
report the findings to OSHA’s national office and use it to continue our
advocacy efforts on behalf of the regulated community.
For more information, contact Nazia Shah at (703) 837-5409
Return to Top
AGC Supports FHWA Environmental Streamlining Proposals
AGC submitted comments in support of three separate Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) regulatory proposals to expedite project delivery
by streamlining the federal environmental review process. The FHWA proposals
implement various AGC-supported provisions in the Moving Ahead for Progress in
the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation
Act (FAST Act) – legislation intended to make the National Environmental
Protection Act (NEPA) procedures work better. In one proposal, AGC supported the state of Arizona taking responsibility for
undertaking part the NEPA review process and, in so doing, eliminating federal
review. Eight states have or are seeking assignment of this review authority
and AGC’s comments pointed out that FHWA and these states report significant reduction
in the time it takes to complete the NEPA process. FHWA’s report indicates that
states that have undertaken this responsibility have, “a greater awareness,
understanding, and opportunity for improving environmental outcomes.”
A second FHWA proposal takes this NEPA assignment one step
further by allowing states to substitute their own environmental laws and
procedures for the federal process as long as the state procedures are “at
least as stringent” as the Federal rules. AGC’s comments said
that this is the next logical step in delegating authority to states for the
NEPA process and urged that these regulatory changes be adopted quickly. AGC’s
comments also offered suggestions on how the federal government should judge
whether state laws are as “stringent” as the federal law.
The third FHWA proposal
(made jointly with the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad
Administration) makes revisions in the NEPA process itself and in historic
preservation requirements. Many of the proposed changes will allow all of the U.S.
DOT agencies to use similar criteria in judging which construction projects
need to go through an extensive environmental review or whether they can be
assessed under less cumbersome procedures (called categorical exclusions. Under
the historical preservation revisions, certain steel and concrete bridges as
well as historic rail and transit lines would be exempt from cumbersome review
For more information,
contact Brian Deery at email@example.com or (703)
Return to Top
AGC Supports Increased Airport Infrastructure
This week, AGC joined our partners in the Beyond the Runway Coalitionin urging the House and Senate
appropriators to retain provisions in the FY 2018 Senate Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development Appropriations bill that would dramatically improve
aviation infrastructure across the country by increasing the Passenger Facility
Charge (PFC) user fee and increasing funding for the Airport Improvement
Program (AIP). The PFC and AIP programs are the two main funding sources
for airports and runway infrastructure projects.
AGC will continue to work with our coalition partners to
ensure that the final funding bill for 2018 includes these critical provisions
to our nation’s aviation infrastructure.
For more information,
contact Sean O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 547-8892.
Return to Top
AGC Urges Agencies ‘Draw Bright Lines’ in Revised WOTUS Definition
Latest Update on WOTUS Rule Status
On Nov. 28, AGC commented on the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers’ (Corps) request for pre-proposal feedback on revising the definition
of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The definition of WOTUS, which dictates the scope of the federal control and
CWA (e.g., 404/wetlands) permitting responsibility, is of fundamental
importance to the construction industry. AGC members perform many
construction activities on land and water that often require a jurisdictional
determination from the Corps. A broad definition of WOTUS will result in
more projects falling under federal jurisdiction and requiring expensive and
time-consuming permits to proceed.
AGC highlighted the industry’s general concerns with a broad
expansion of federal authority over water and land use. AGC recommends
the agencies “draw bright lines” for the regulated community and the agencies’
field staff and urges the agencies to:
- Exclude roadside ditches and other components of
a municipality’s storm sewers;
- Exclude other stormwater features such as
retention/detention ponds; and
- Clarify and exclude “water filled depressions”
such as those caused from the use of construction equipment.
As for the latest on the WOTUS rulemaking, the EPA and Corps
recently proposeddelaying implementation of the 2015 Obama-era WOTUS rule by two years
(until 2020). According to the agencies, postponing the rule will provide regulatory
certainty while they work to repeal and replace the rule, which is currently
underway. The rule is also currently under a nationwide
stay after it was challenged by environmental and industry groups. That
litigation remains pending before the Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit.
information, contact Melinda Tomaino at email@example.com or 703-837-5415.
Return to Top
Federal Best Practices for Environment Permitting Should Apply to State Agencies, AGC Says
AGC is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to apply federally approved “Recommended Best Practices for
Environmental Reviews and Authorizations for Infrastructure Projects”
in delegated states that EPA has authorized to implement and enforce a federal
environmental permit program. In response to EPA’s request for input, AGC’s Nov. 22 letter explains that
where states have taken over the responsibility for executing federal
authorizations and environmental reviews, the obligation to use best practices
should transfer to the state permitting authority. A majority of states
have been delegated authority to implement and enforce one or more provisions
of the federal pollution control laws.
The “recommended” management practices and streamlining
measures include processes to enhance coordination, transparency,
predictability, administrative burdens and oversight of reviews and permitting
required prior to construction. They were published by a Federal
Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) – an oversight council
established by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) of
2015 to oversee the cross-agency federal environmental review and authorization
process for a defined set of large-scale infrastructure projects. The
FPISC includes members from 13 Federal agencies, the Council on Environmental
Quality and the Office of Management and Budget. AGC has urged the White House, Congress and the regulatory agencies to more
widely apply the FAST Act environmental streamlining measures (contained mostly
in Title 41); most recently focusing on the FPISC’s recommended best
information, contact Leah Pilconis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 837-5332.
Return to Top
Streamlining Environmental Permitting in Construction
For this month’s episode of the ConstructorCast,
we sit down with Leah Pilconis, AGC’s Senior Counsel of Environmental Law, to
talk about the complex world of environmental permitting and what AGC is doing
to try to make it easier for construction companies. Our discussion examines
the breadth of requirements, the opportunities to streamline regulations and
make environmental protection more efficient, and where environmental
regulations might be headed in the coming years. Search for the ConstructorCast
in your podcasts app to subscribe.
Stream or download the
Return to Top
AGC Presses for Federal Construction P3 Opportunities
Arcane Budget Rules Block Reasonable Real Estate Transactions
On Nov. 28, AGC and industry allies urged President Trump
to make common sense changes to arcane accounting rules that will help provide
flexibility for federal construction public-private partnership (P3)
opportunities. As it stands, federal accounting rules require that federal
agencies—like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. General Services
Administration—pay up front (or “score”) the complete cost of a construction
project. These “scoring” rules do not allow for the fact that the federal government
will actually pay for the project incrementally over its lifetime.
Consequently, the rule stymies many P3 opportunities, which are structured
based on long-term capital planning realities, not upfront financing fantasies.
For more information on these scoring rules and how they
have negatively impacted federal construction, click
For more information, contact Jimmy
Christianson at 703-837-5325 or email@example.com.
Return to Top
U.S. Small Business Administration Solicits Suggestions for Reform
AGC Submits Recommendations
AGC submitted its recommendations to
the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on existing agency regulations
that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. In accordance
to President Trump’s E.O. 13777 to alleviate unnecessary
regulatory burdens, and E.O. 13771 that directs agencies to
“identify” at least two existing regulations for elimination whenever any new
rule is proposed or issued. AGC
highlights the regulatory burden the construction industry bears and offered
specific program modifications and solutions.
Among AGC recommendations are:
- Credit for Lower Tier
Small Business Subcontracting;
- Improve Processing and
Payment of Contract Modification; and
- Remove the Lifetime
Limitations on Protégés in the Mentor-Protégé Program.
AGC will continue to advocate for practical and real reforms
with the federal agencies and Congress.
information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.
Return to Top