Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 11, 2018
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
LABOR
Multiemployer Pension Legislation Proposal Unveiled
DOL Proposes New Rules Expanding Association Health Plans Options
IMMIGRATION
AGC Disappointed in Administrationís Decision on Legal Immigration Status for Some Construction Workers
INFRASTRUCTURE
Bipartisan House Members Release Infrastructure Report
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Congress Takes Notice of Change Orders Delays
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Urges FWS to Scrap Mitigation Policies that Go Above and Beyond the Law
AGC EVENTS
Register Now for the 2018 Federal Contractors Conference†
LABOR
Multiemployer Pension Legislation Proposal Unveiled
 

On Jan. 9, AGC participated in a media rollout of the Give Retirement Options to Workers (GROW) Act with the future bill’s sponsors, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) and North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU). More commonly known as “composite plans,” the GROW Act has long been an AGC priority, and legislation could be formally unveiled in the coming weeks.

Initially proposed in the NCCMPs Solutions not Bailouts, the composite plan concept incorporates the best features of defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. These composite plans would offer voluntary options to share risks, providing funding stability, providing lifetime income to participants, and limiting employer obligations to negotiated contributions only.

AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr and Sean McGarvey, President of NABTU, weighed in on composite plans in an op-ed published in The Hill. More information can be found on the Save Our Futures website, and AGC is calling on members to send letters of support to their legislators via the AGC Legislative Action Center.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
DOL Proposes New Rules Expanding Association Health Plans Options
 

On Jan. 4, following Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13813, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its plan to expand access to healthcare through small business health plans. The proposal could grant small employers greater flexibility to join with groups or associations to offer insured health coverage in the large group market at more favorable prices and with less restrictive requirements. The impact state laws might have on this remains unclear, especially for plans that are not fully insured and generally remain subject to state insurance laws.

EO 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” directed the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury to develop rules to expand association health plans (AHPs), short-term limited duration insurance, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

The DOL’s proposed rule pertains to AHPs only by modifying the definition of “employer” under Section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) regarding entities (AHPs) that could sponsor group health coverage. This change would allow employers to band together to offer health coverage if they are either: “(1) in the same trade, industry, line of business, or profession; or (2) have a principal place of business within a region that does not exceed the boundaries of the same State or the same metropolitan area (even if the metropolitan area includes more than one State).” The proposed rule would also allow working business owners, such as sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals, to act as employers for purposes of participating in an AHP, and as employees of their businesses to be covered by the group or association’s health plan.

Comments are due by March 6, 2018, and AGC will provide input to the DOL, as well as notify members of developments.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or 202-547-0133 or Claiborne Guy atclaiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
IMMIGRATION
AGC Disappointed in Administrationís Decision on Legal Immigration Status for Some Construction Workers
 

This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it was ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for individuals from El Salvador, allowing them 18 months to alter their immigration status or face deportation. AGC previously joined other construction organizations in encouraging Congress to use its authority to take legislative action and ensure TPS holders can continue to work legally in the country.

Granted to individuals fleeing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances, the TPS program is a category of legal status that confers work authorization in the United States. The system has existed for decades and involves strong vetting and biometrics.

While El Salvador is the latest country to come under the Administration’s scrutiny of the program, the program itself covers over 300,000 individuals within the United States, 50,000 of whom work in the construction industry. AGC is concerned that ending the legal work status for 50,000 construction workers nationwide will exacerbate the industry’s growing workforce shortage.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
INFRASTRUCTURE
Bipartisan House Members Release Infrastructure Report
 

On Jan. 10, the Problem Solvers Caucus – a bipartisan group of 48 House members – released their infrastructure report detailing policy suggestions for a future infrastructure plan. AGC and other infrastructure stakeholders consulted with these members of Congress, offering funding recommendations and policy prescriptions for inclusion in the plan.

Led by Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), the caucus’s Infrastructure Working Group proposed bipartisan solutions to improve surface transportation, port and inland waterway, water and wastewater, aviation, energy, and communications infrastructure.

AGC is particularly pleased by the plan’s options for providing a sustainable and long-term funding source for the Highway Trust Fund, including indexing and “modernizing” the federal gasoline tax. Additionally, the plan offers AGC-supported infrastructure funding and financing options, including maintaining the tax-exempt status for municipal bonds and private activity bonds, as well as increasing the private activity bond state volume caps. 

Other report highlights include calling on Congress to work with the Office of Management and Budget to reform federal budget scoring for federal infrastructure, dedicating 100 percent of revenue raised for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to support port and harbor dredging, increasing funding to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and streamlining project delivery through regulatory reforms.

The Problem Solvers report is especially timely as we await the release of the Administration’s infrastructure plan, held up as one of the few bipartisan issues that Congress and President Trump may be able to deliver on this year. 

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Congress Takes Notice of Change Orders Delays
Bill Encourages Transparency
 

On Jan. 10, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives introduced an AGC-backed bill, H.R. 4754, that would require federal agencies to publically publish their change orders policies and procedures on any small business federal construction contract. The bill would provide prospective federal construction contractors with information they need to factor risk and resulting costs of delayed payment for change orders into their federal contract bids and offers. The bill originated out of a congressional hearing in which AGC members testified before the House Small Business Committee on change order delays and their impact on federal construction contractors.

AGC is at the forefront of advocating for greater accountability in the change order process, having previously called on the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council to improve the data federal agencies collect regarding the administration of change orders. AGC’s recommendations would require federal agencies to collect data covering the contracting officer’s (CO) timeliness of action, encouraging greater CO accountability.  

To view the press release from one of the bill’s sponsors, click here.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Urges FWS to Scrap Mitigation Policies that Go Above and Beyond the Law
 

On Jan. 5, AGC urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove the goal of “net conservation gain” from the Service’s Mitigation Policy and Endangered Species Act (ESA)–Compensatory Mitigation Policy, finalized in late 2016.  AGC asserts that that the “improvement” goal is not supported under the ESA; the goal fails to provide a clear limit on how much mitigation is necessary and blurs the line between recommendations and requirements.

Construction project proponents already address species and habitat concerns throughout the project’s life, implementing avoidance and mitigation measures at great cost. The net gain goal only adds further delays and additional costs to construction projects without legal justification.

The FWS initially issued the 2016 mitigation policies in response to an Obama-era presidential memorandum that encouraged agencies to promote restoration or enhancement of natural resources, i.e., “net gain.”  A few months after the Service finalized the policies, President Trump issued an order to rescind the memorandum, directing agencies to reexamine their actions (regulations, orders, guidance, policies) for any barriers that unnecessarily obstruct the development and delivery of energy resources.

The Department of Interior (DOI) has acted swiftly to implement President Trump’s order.  Under DOI direction, FWS has accepted comment on its mitigation policies and also plans to review and revise the regulations for listing endangered and threatened species, as well as regulations for designating critical habitats.  A proposed rule is expected this month.  Separately, on Dec. 22, 2017, DOI rescinded two Bureau of Land Management mitigation documents and ordered the review of two others.

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.orgor (703) 837-5415. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC EVENTS
Register Now for the 2018 Federal Contractors Conference†
May 1-3, 2018†
 

Register today for the 2018 AGC Federal Contractors Conference.

The Federal Contractors Conference is the premier conference for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies, and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, General Services Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.

In addition to substantive discussions and presentations with federal agencies, attendees will hear from legal experts about the latest federal regulations that will impact their businesses. Attendees may also have the opportunity to continue a dialogue with federal agencies after the conference. Leading federal construction attorneys will address executive orders, Small Business Administration and Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and case law trends your company needs to know to work in the federal market. And, when the conference concludes, AGC member attendees will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing meetings with agency headquarters later in the year.

For more information and to register, go to http://meetings.agc.org/fedcon/registration/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.