Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 27, 2018
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On the Inside
TAX/ACCOUNTING
House Votes to Make Tax Cuts Permanent
TRANSPORTATION
House Passes Five-Year FAA Reauthorization
ENVIRONMENT
Trump Admin. Proposes Endangered Species Act Regulation Reforms
APPROPRIATIONS
Trump to Sign Government Funding Bills
TAX/ACCOUNTING
House Votes to Make Tax Cuts Permanent
 

On Sept. 26, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018, which would make permanent a number of AGC-supported tax provisions that will expire in 2025 without Congressional action. The Senate may take up the legislation after the November election.

In December 2017, the president signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which – amongst other things – created a new 20 percent deduction for qualified pass-through business income and doubled the exemption for the estate tax from $5 million to $10 million. Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, a number of provisions in the Act were made temporary, including the pass-through deduction and the increased estate tax exemption. 

On Sept. 12, AGC sent a letter to the Ways and Means Committee supporting the Committee’s consideration of the legislation.  On Sept. 25, AGC sent a letter to the House of Representatives in support of its passage.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
House Passes Five-Year FAA Reauthorization
Includes AGC-Championed DBE Reform
 

This week,  the House of Representatives passed the longest reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since 1982 by a vote of 392-93. While AGC supported the legislation – as it included a provision championed by AGC that would adjust the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) size standard from $23.98 million to $36.5 million –disappoint remains in that the legislation did not provide a significant funding increase for airport infrastructure. 

The bill provides five years of funding certainty for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP); however, it does not raise the funding level for the AIP and instead maintains inadequate, status quo funding levels at $3.35 billion annually through fiscal year 2023.   AGC is also disappointed that the bill fails to generate additional infrastructure revenues through an increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC), a user fee that has not increased since 2001. PFC funds help finance scores of airport infrastructure projects including terminal construction, airport roadway and transit expansion, and noise mitigation projects, among others. 

Other provisions supported by AGC include language that encourages the FAA to develop rules addressing integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) safely into the national airspace in a manner that will speed the creative use of UAS in construction operations. AGC also supports disaster relief provisions in the bill that will provide meaningful reforms to improve pre-disaster planning and mitigation while providing incentives for building and rebuilding infrastructure to mitigate damages from future disasters.

The Senate is likely to take up and pass the legislation next week.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
Trump Admin. Proposes Endangered Species Act Regulation Reforms
AGC Comments in Support of Reforms
 

On Sept. 24, AGC commented on three proposed rules that would significantly affect the applicability and implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed revisions pertain to regulations governing the listing and delisting of species and plants, the designation of critical habitat and the interagency consultations that are part of the approval process for almost all federal permits and approvals.  AGC’s comment letters (one, two and three) offered examples of why the current process is unpredictable and adds delay and cost to the permitting and construction of infrastructure projects nationwide. 

Overall, AGC offered support for the Services efforts to clarify definitions, refine procedures and streamline process.  Significant reforms would: remove the blanket “take” prohibition from threatened species; re-emphasize the role of unoccupied habitat in critical habitat designations by reversing 2016 regulations implemented by the Obama Administration; make economic impacts publicly available – though not considered – in listing decisions; streamline the interagency consultation process required by Section 7 of the ESA, including the scope, process itself and substance of the consultation. AGC also suggested some additional areas for improvement, drawing from concerns that AGC members have raised in the past.

For more information, please contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org.   Return to Top

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APPROPRIATIONS
Trump to Sign Government Funding Bills
Partial Government Shutdown will be Avoided
 

The House passed fiscal year 2019 spending bills for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education, and a continuing resolution this week to successfully avoid a partial government shutdown this fall. The continuing resolution provides funding through Dec. 7 for the five remaining spending bills that have not yet been passed by Congress. This is the first time since 2007 that any appropriations bills will have been signed into law prior to the expiration of the previous fiscal year.   A full rundown of the status of the 2019 funding bills can be found here.

Of interest to AGC members, the Department of Labor bill includes a $15 million increase in apprenticeship grants and a $70 million increase in career and technical education grants as compared to fiscal year 2018.  The bill also restores previously proposed funding cuts to OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grants.

AGC will continue to push for action on the remaining appropriations bills.

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

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