Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 9, 2019
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On the Inside
Infrastructure
Contact Congress/President on Infrastructure Bill
Cost of Keeping Highway Trust Fund Solvent Goes Up
House Panel Passes Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fix
AGC Supports National Infrastructure Week
Workforce
Trump Administration Adds 30,000 H-2B Seasonal Guest Worker Visas
International Trade
Tariff Rate on Chinese Import Goods May Increase
Federal Contracting
Federal Property Reform Board Sworn In
Advocacy
AGC of Texas Pledges $250,000 to the Construction Advocacy Fund
Grassroots
AGC on the Jobsite in Montana
Events
Register for the Summer Financial Issues Committee Meeting
Register for the 2019 Safety, Health & Environmental Conference
Infrastructure
Contact Congress/President on Infrastructure Bill
Urge Action NOW on $2 Trillion Bill
 
AGC is encouraging all AGC members and Chapters to urge their representatives, senators and President Trump to fund a robust infrastructure bill, including fixing the Highway Trust Fund by increasing the federal gas tax. President Trump and congressional Democratic leaders recently agreed in principle on a $2 trillion price tag for a broad infrastructure package. However, they fell short of identifying how to pay such a bill. Both sides agreed, nonetheless, to meet again to have a more specific conversation on how to pay for these new infrastructure investments. Help us keep the pressure on Congress and the president by urging them to act NOW on an infrastructure bill
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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Cost of Keeping Highway Trust Fund Solvent Goes Up
New Report Underscores Need for Congress to Act on HTF Fix
 
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released projections for the Highway Trust Fund for FY 2019 and the ten-year period of FY 2020-2029, estimating that to merely maintain current spending levels the trust fund will need $176 billion over 10-years.  This is about $12 billion higher than they projected in January 2019.  More immediately, the trust fund will be unable to meet the minimum balances of $4 billion for Highway Account and $1 billion for the Transit Account as soon as FY 2021. We urge all our contractors to visit the updated Hardhats for Highways site to learn more and contact their representative and Senators about fixing the Highway Trust Fund NOW!
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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House Panel Passes Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fix
AGC-Backed Legislation Advances in Congress
 
On May 8, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved several AGC-backed bills. Of note, H.R. 2440 would ensure the revenues generated from the Harbor Maintenance Tax are used for their intended purpose: addressing the ever-growing backlog of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) harbor maintenance projects. AGC will continue to work to ensure this legislation makes it through the legislative process and onto the president’s desk.
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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AGC Supports National Infrastructure Week
 
AGC of America is once again one helping to support and promote Infrastructure Week – a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around the message #BuildForTomorrow. Next week – May 13-20, 2019 – advocates around the country will highlight the state of our nation’s infrastructure and encourage lawmakers to invest in and modernize our roads, bridges, highways, airports, waterways, ports, and water systems.
 
AGC of America will continue our social media campaign efforts during the week to help educate the broader public and Congress about the many benefits of investing in our aging infrastructure. In addition, all AGC chapters and member firms can sign up to become Affiliates of Infrastructure Week. All Affiliates have access to a number of downloadable resources, including suggested social media content, template press release, template op-ed/blog post and a message guide. In addition, there are already a number of activities taking place in cities around the country during Infrastructure Week. Please feel free to reach out to the groups organizing those events to participate.
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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Workforce
Trump Administration Adds 30,000 H-2B Seasonal Guest Worker Visas
 
On May 6, the administration announced an additional 30,000 H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas will be available for fiscal year (FY) 2019. AGC has routinely asked Congress to expand the cap on H-2Bs. These supplemental H-2B visas are available only to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years (FY 2016, 2017, or 2018). Availability is restricted by prioritizing only those businesses who would suffer irreparable harm without the additional workers. Final details on the increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2019 can now be found here
 
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary (seasonal) non-agricultural jobs. Congress has typically capped the number of the temporary visas at 66,000 a year – 33,000 for summer and for winter – though the Trump administration has raised that number by 15,000 in each of the last two years. 
 
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.
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International Trade
Tariff Rate on Chinese Import Goods May Increase
Status of Trade Negotiations with China in Question
 
On May 5, President Trump announced via Twitter that his administration plans to increase the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent on May 10. He also stated plans to place duties on another $325 billion worth of Chinese import goods. Many of the items that have had duties accessed on them are materials incorporated into the actual construction project itself, necessary parts for manufacturing construction equipment, or the construction equipment itself. Costs for these various supplies, materials, and equipment may rise accordingly, placing further pressure on contractors to increase their bid prices. For a full rundown of trade actions taken by the Trump administration and their impact on the construction industry, click here.
 
For more information, contact Cory Gattie at cory.gattie@agc.org or (202) 547-4685.
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Federal Contracting
Federal Property Reform Board Sworn In
Will Identify Billions in Public Asset Disposal
 
General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily W. Murphy recently swore in four new Public Buildings Reform Board members: Angela Styles, Mary Phillips, Nick Rahall, Talmage Hocker, and David Winstead. The board was established by the AGC-supported Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (FASTA). The Public Buildings Reform Board is mandated to identify opportunities to reduce the federal real property inventory and make recommendations for the sale of at least $8 billion worth of underutilized and vacant federal properties. AGC has long been involved in pushing for federal real property reform and has supported these efforts in Congress.
 
As AGC previously reported, in addition to establishment of the reform board, FASTA also requires GSA to create and publish a single, comprehensive database of all federal real properties within one year and streamline the federal real property disposal process. 
 
The disposal of unneeded federal real property could allow for millions and potentially billions of dollars in private and federal construction work throughout the nation, as excess federal buildings exist in every state. For example, GSA sold an abandoned heating plant in Washington, D.C., for $19.5 million that will be converted into high-end condominiums, requiring private construction work of more than $100 million. According to the most recent Federal Real Property Summary, the government owns more than 254,000 buildings, comprising 2.5 billion square feet of space, costing the taxpayer $14.4 billion annually. Recent estimates show 77,000 buildings are underutilized, costing $1.7 billion annually.
 
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org or 703-837-5325.
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Advocacy
AGC of Texas Pledges $250,000 to the Construction Advocacy Fund
 
The Construction Advocacy Fund is on the front line providing critical support to promote construction priorities, implement grassroots programs, and sustain legal fights that enhance AGC member’s ability to prosper. Believing in the importance and effectiveness of The Construction Advocacy Fund, the AGC of Texas has pledged to contribute $250,000 if the Fund can raise an equivalent amount. If your company would like to help the Fund reach the $250,000 benchmark, please make an online contribution or request to be invoiced.
 
Trey Pebley, President of the AGC of Texas, said, “The Fund is on the front line providing critical support to promote construction priorities like improving the workforce pipeline, implement grassroots programs that increase the association’s political power, and sustain legal fights that enhance AGC members’ ability to prosper.” He added, “The AGC of Texas wants to do its part to help make the Fund even stronger. It’s a win-win for our members and AGC.”
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Grassroots
AGC on the Jobsite in Montana
Pushes Congress to Address Workforce Needs
 
The Montana Contractors Association recently hosted Senator Steve Daines for a tour of a construction project in Bozeman, Montana. The tour took place on a $93 million project led by Langlas & Associates to build a new high school for the town. While touring the site, construction officials and Sen. Daines discussed the need for Congress to address the workforce shortage in the construction industry and pass a long-term infrastructure bill. During the visit the group noted that driving on deficient roads costs Montana motorists a total of $794 million annually. 
 
For more information or if your company is interested in hosting a member of Congress for a job site tour please contact Jenni Traver at jennifer.traver@agc.org.
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Events
Register for the Summer Financial Issues Committee Meeting
June 10 11, 2019 | Washington, D.C.
 
Register today for the summer AGC Financial Issues Committee Conference is open. The meeting will take place June 10-11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. Further details can be found on the website, which can be found here. Geared toward member company CFOs, Controllers, Tax Directors, Sureties and other senior accounting professionals – learn from practitioners, formulate positions on matters affecting the industry, talk with FASB and lawmakers, as well as network with peers.
 
During the January meeting in Florida, over 40 member company CFOs and other senior accounting professionals were brought up to speed on FASB initiatives and tax practices, had a policy discussion with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and staff from the Senate Finance Committee; a segment on emerging construction technologies with K.P. Reddy from Shadow Ventures; as well as provided an economic outlook by AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.
 
For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.
 
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Register for the 2019 Safety, Health & Environmental Conference
July 23 - 25, 2019 | Seattle, WA
 

Join more than 300 construction safety, health, and environmental professionals at the AGC Safety, Health & Environmental Conference taking place July 23 – 25, 2019 in Seattle, WA. This conference is the industry's foremost annual conference to hone in on the most critical safety, health, and environmental compliance and risk issues impacting the business of construction. Whether your goal is protecting the safety and health of the men and women working in construction or protecting the environment during the construction process – this is the conference for you. Stay current on the latest issues through a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions. Learn more about the conference today.

 For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org.

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