Congress Completes Fiscal Year 2017 Funding Bill

Maintains Funding for Federal Construction Accounts
This week, the House and Senate agreed to a funding bill at an annualized spending rate of $1.165 trillion for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends Sept. 30. The House passed the bill by a vote of 309-118 with 178 Democrats and 131 Republicans voting in support of the bill. The Senate passed the bill by a 79-18 vote. Overall, the bill is mostly status quo with nearly $120 billion for federal construction accounts tracked by AGC.  The total number is nearly identical to fiscal year 2016-enacted levels but $17 billion less than the Obama Administration’s fiscal year 2017 budget request. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and be signed by the president prior to the expiration of the current short-term funding bill on Friday.
The bill provides the increased funding levels for federal highway and transit programs that was provided in the FAST Act, and ignores a call by President Trump for cuts to the TIGER grant program and limits to the transit capital grants for ongoing transit projects. Additionally, the bill provides slight increases for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program and maintains funding for worker training and education programs critical to addressing the construction industry’s skills shortage.  The one program to see significant cuts was the construction account for the General Services Administration. Additionally, Department of Labor enforcement agencies funding remains largely unchanged with only modest cuts to Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
Unlike previous years, the bill included very few policy riders, however, AGC was successful in once again including provisions that would restrict the use of local hire requirements on highway and transit projects that have federal funding. The bill also included policies riders that prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from issuing an electronic election voting rule and increase the H-2B visa cap— a program for temporary, seasonal, low-skilled workers.
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org.


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