AGC's Construction Legislative Week in Review - 09/22/2011 (Plain Text Version)
AGC Chapter Leaders Lobby Congress to Repeal 3 Percent Withholding
At this week’s National Chapter Leadership Conference, AGC chapter leadership and executives lobbied members of Congress to support legislation to repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate.
FASB Issues New Multiemployer Plan Disclosure Standard; Update Represents Victory for AGC
Sept. 21 the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an Accounting Standards Update to require employers that participate in multiemployer pension plans to provide additional quantitative and qualitative disclosures in their financial statements. AGC is very proud of the successful, painstaking efforts by AGC’s Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee and the Construction Industry FASB Coalition of which AGC was an active member, in getting the most dangerous provisions of the originally proposed standard removed, including disclosures about withdrawal liability and retiree health and welfare benefits (though the latter might be addressed in a future initiative).
The new disclosures include the following:
Users of financial statements would be able to use the Employer Identification Number, the plan name, and, if applicable, the plan number, to obtain additional information, including the funded status of the plan(s), from sources outside the financial statements, such as the plan’s annual report (Form 5500).
Employers are also required to make additional disclosures about the plans that otherwise may not be available publicly, including the following:
For public entities, the enhanced disclosures are required in fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2011. For nonpublic entities, the enhanced disclosures are required in fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2012.
Continuing Resolution Measure Challenged, Risking Potential Government Shutdown
A coalition of conservative Republicans handed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) a major defeat on Sept.21 as legislation allowing the federal government to continue operating through Nov. 18 was defeated by a 190-235 vote. 48 Republicans voted no on the measure.
The measure went down due to several factors. First, Democrats were concerned that there were not nearly enough funds to pay for disaster assistance. Senate Democrats a week earlier called for $6.9 billion in aid; the continuing resolution (CR) also would have provided $2.65 billion in FY12 disaster spending. Republicans wanted to reduce the spending level from an annualized rate of $1.043 trillion, which was consistent with the debt limit law approved in early August, but higher that the FY 11 budget deal approved in April 2011.
At press time, it was reported that Republican leaders were hoping to woo back some of the 48 Republican defectors by adding $100 million in additional offsets tied to the government program that provided loan guarantees to Solyndra, the solar energy firm embroiled in controversy as it was recently revealed that it had received more than $500 million in government loan guarantees and later declared bankruptcy.
AGC will continue to closely monitor this developing issue and encourage Congressional leaders to move on all FY 2012 Appropriations bills to bring certainty and predictability to the numerous Federal construction programs.
Senate Appropriators Restores Nominal Funding for FY 2012 GSA Construction Accounts
On Sept. 15, 2011, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for FY 2012. The legislation provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other independent agencies.
The bill includes a total of $21.7 billion in funding for the agencies, which is only $224 million (one percent) below FY 2011 and $4.26 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2012 request. The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Building Fund still has borne the brunt of these cuts, but the Senate did move to restore some funding for new construction projects, in the amount of $65 million. House Appropriators in June voted to eliminate funding altogether. The bill matches House figures for repairs and alternations in the amount of $280 million for FY 2012.
AGC has expressed concern to Congressional Appropriations leaders about these drastic cuts for these critical programs and will continue to press Congress on the need for investment in Federal facilities infrastructure.
For the text and report of the legislation by the House Appropriations Committees, please visit:
For the text and report of the legislation by the Senate Appropriations Committees, please visit:
For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5376 or firstname.lastname@example.org. [return to top]
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2012 Transportation Funding at Current Levels
Sept. 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Fiscal Year 2012 funding for the highway and transit programs at the same level as FY 2011. In addition, the bill provides an additional $1.9 billion in emergency relief funding and $550 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants Program. These funding levels contrast significantly from the bill approved earlier by the House transportation appropriations subcommittee which set funding at far lower levels. Those funding levels adhere to the principles set in a budget resolution passed in the House earlier this year, which directed that highway and transit funding be set at levels supported by Highway Trust Fund revenue. The full House Appropriations Committee has not yet acted on the measure. It is unlikely action will be completed on this legislation before Sept. 30, 2011, the end of the current fiscal year. If not, the highway and transit appropriations may be included in a continuing resolution.
Last week Congress passed a six month extension to authorize the FAA and highway programs at current funding levels. The appropriations bill is needed to provide the cash necessary to meet the authorized funding levels contained in the extension.
A comparison of the funding levels approved thus far follows:
House Judiciary Committee Approves National E-Verify Legislation
On Sept. 21, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee approved, by a 22-13 vote, H.R. 2885, the Legal Workforce Act, sponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The legislation would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify.
Although E-Verify is not currently mandatory, federal contractors are required to use the system and many businesses voluntarily use the program. Nearly 290,000 American employers use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week. The bill aims to bring certainty to the verification process by preempting states and localities from enacting their own E-Verify laws.
AGC has expressed support for the legislation because the bill has a clear, safe harbor for employers who act in good faith. The legislation also has support from a broad coalition of industry partners, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Home Builders, National Restaurant Association, American Council on International Personnel, Society for Human Resource Management, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Roofing Contractors Association, Tree Care Industry Association, International Franchise Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, American Staffing Association, NumbersUSA, and Federation for American Immigration Reform. It is not likely that the legislation will be considered by the House this year. The legislation faces challenges from agricultural interests and states’ rights advocates.
AGC Chapter Leaders Visit D.C., Call On Congress to Stimulate Demand for Construction
This week, AGC held its annual National & Chapter Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., which brought chapter leaders together to discuss best practices and meet with Members of Congress to address AGC's top legislative issues. During the meetings with legislators, AGC members used the opportunity to urge support for the repeal of the 3 percent withholding tax, advocate for a long-term transportation bill, and ask that negotiations with the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction 1) do not sacrifice federal construction investment; 2) reinforce trust fund financing for infrastructure investments; 3) provide comprehensive tax reform that reduces rate, spreads the tax burden; and, 4) provide tax certainty and strongly address entitlements. AGC also used the opportunity to deliver its national plan detailing measures to stimulate demand for construction by boosting private sector construction activity, improving aging infrastructure and cutting needless and costly regulations. The plan, Building a Stronger Future: A New Blueprint for Economic Growth can be read here.
During the meeting, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) and Representative Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) said that sustained, long-term federal infrastructure investments are needed to jump start the economy. The two GOP members of Congress chided the Obama administration for neglecting long-term legislation in favor of making large, temporary, political payoffs that did little to rebuild infrastructure as part of the stimulus. They also said growing federal regulatory burdens were stifling small business growth and hiring and said they were working to repeal the “idiotic” 3 percent withholding measure. As Representative Hanna, a former contractor said, “If businesses don’t succeed, government doesn’t succeed.”
AGC members visited with nearly 200 members of congress and their staff, including many members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Register and save now for the 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Oct. 26-28, 2011, Las Vegas, Nev.
The 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference, jointly sponsored by the AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry.
The three-day conference features 38 interactive sessions covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications. Participants may earn up to 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits.
This year’s sessions include:
Owners, chief financial officers, controllers, treasurers, certified public accountants, auditors, consultants, bankers, sureties, and others interested in the construction financial management will greatly benefit from this conference. Discounts are available for first-time attendees and for subsequent registrations from the same firm.
Registration Open for AGC’s Joint Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting
Nov. 10-12, 2011, Indian Wells, Calif.
The premier event of the year for contractors involved in highway, bridge and utility construction is scheduled for Nov. 10-12, 2011 in the Palm Springs Valley of California. The Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting will address the many issues that will be impacting your business over the next year and in years to come.
Topics that will be addressed included:
Date: Nov. 10-12, 2011
To register and for information on hotel reservations, please click here.