LATEST NEWS

Schedule a Meeting with your Member of Congress

On February 18, the next Congressional district work week begins. During this time, AGC encourages you to meet with your Representatives and Senators to build stronger relationships and inform them about issues facing the construction industry. Meetings can include meetings in the member’s office, inviting them to a board meeting or having them tour a construction site to give them a hands-on learning experience.

During these meetings, AGC encourages you to urge your member of Congress to support an infrastructure bill that creates long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, encourages greater direct federal infrastructure investment and strengthens existing infrastructure tools like the Private Activity bonds. Additionally, we hope you urge your member of Congress to promote a strong workforce that ensures adequate federal funding for skills-based education programs, reforms higher education to better prepare a workforce and enact comprehensive immigration reform. For a full list of AGC’s priorities click here.

If you have any questions or need assistance setting up your meeting, please contact Jenni Traver at Jennifer.traver@agc.org or (703) 837-5435.

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AGC-Backed Tax Bills Introduced

Bills would Repeal Estate Tax and Make Pass-Thru Deduction Permanent

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—passed at the end of 2017—doubled the estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million. However, that provision expires in 2025 without further Congressional action.  Senator Thune’s legislation (which follows legislation also introduced by Rep. Jason Smith in the House) would take a step further and fully repeal the estate tax.  The TCJA also created a new 20 percent deduction for pass-through business income, but that too will expire in 2025 without further Congressional action.  The Main Street Tax Certainty Act would make this provision permanent.

The outlook for both bills is uncertain in this Congress. Incoming Ways and Means Committee Chairman Neal (D-MA) has said that he would like to do additional oversight the Section 199A deduction specifically, and days after Senator Thune introduced his bill to repeal the estate tax, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation to increase the estate tax rate to 77 percent on estates worth over $1 Billion.  Action on either bill in the near term is unlikely.

For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at (202) 547-4734, or matt.turkstra@agc.org.

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Senate Hearing on FHWA Administrator Nominee

AGC Urges Speedy Confirmation

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing this week to question Nicole Nason, President Trump’s nominee to be the next Federal Highway Administrator. EPW Chairman John Barasso (R-WY) opened the hearing by reading from AGC’s letter of endorsement, which called Nason a great choice to lead initiatives in improving mobility on our nation's highways and urged the Senate to quickly confirm her.

Following an introduction by former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, the majority of the questioning centered on her and the administration’s priorities for the next transportation reauthorization legislation. The FAST Act expires in 2020 and is expected to be debated this Congress. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Tom Carper (DE), pointed out the need for identifying a revenue source to fix the Highway Trust Fund, while Chairman Barasso stressed the importance of supporting the formula-based approach to distributing funds to state DOTs. Nason responded that every available tool that would result in long-term funding for infrastructure projects should be considered.

Committee members all pointed out Ms. Nason’s strong transportation background and voiced support for her nomination. While a committee vote on the nomination could be soon, full Senate confirmation is expected to take some time due to a backlog of other nominations awaiting final approval. AGC has already developed a working relationship with Nason in her current position as an Assistant Secretary at the State Department, which is in charge of its embassy construction program.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319

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AGC Calls for Compromise on FY 2019 Government Funding

On Jan. 30, AGC urged members of the government funding bipartisan conference committee to reach a broad compromise and avert another government shutdown on Feb. 15. AGC recommended that a final deal should include funding and policies addressing the nation’s border security, immigration system and infrastructure needs. Specifically, components of such a deal should include an earned legal pathway toward legal status or citizenship for the 120,000 construction workers with Temporary Protected Status or in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, while also addressing border security. In addition, such a compromise should include 2018 disaster-aid infrastructure funding to help communities recover and rebuild as well as an additional $10 billion over FY 2017 levels for federal infrastructure programs as Congress promised in 2018.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325. 

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AGC Files Comments Supporting NLRB’s Joint-Employer Rulemaking

AGC of America submitted comments supporting the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule on joint-employer status with certain clarifications January 28. The rule would reinstate a standard establishing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act only when a company actually exercises substantial direct and immediate control over essential terms and conditions of employment of another company’s employees and does so in a manner that is not limited and routine. It would reverse the AGC-opposed Browning-Ferris Industries decision that was issued by the Obama Board in 2015 and recently upheld by a federal circuit court.

AGC’s comment letter supplements group comments signed onto by AGC that were filed by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. The group comments urge the Board to adopt the proposed rule with additional guidance to clarify the meaning of “substantial control” and relevant “essential terms and conditions of employment.”  AGC’s independent comments provide further insight into the impact of the proposed rule in the construction industry.  The letter explains how the reservation and exercise of some control by one company over another is inherent in the nature of construction projects and in well-established industry practices. “A contractor should be able to use and direct subcontractors without taking on joint-employer status as long as the contractor does not directly and excessively control essential terms and conditions of employment of the subcontractors’ employees,” AGC asserts in the letter.

The Board received a high volume of comments on the proposed rule during the public comment period, which is now closed. The timing of the Board’s issuance of a final rule is uncertain.

For more information, contact Denise Gold at goldd@agc.org or (703) 837-5326

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President Issues Buy-American Executive Order for Infrastructure Projects

On Jan. 31., President Trump issued the “Strengthening Buy American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects” Executive Order. The order calls on federal agencies to encourage recipients of new Federal financial assistance awards to use—to the greatest extent practicable—iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the U.S. in every contract, subcontract, purchase order, or sub-award. AGC will provide more details on this executive order after further review.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325

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The Dept. of Labor (DOL) Announces Civil Penalty Adjustments for 2019

On Jan. 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published the annual penalty adjustments for each agency, including OSHA, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The new penalty levels will apply to penalties assessed after January 23, 2019.  The new penalties amount to an increase of approximately 2.5% over the 2018 penalty levels. The table below shows the new maximum penalties for OSHA.

Type of Violation New Maximum
§ Serious
§ Other-Than-Serious
§ Posting Requirements
 
$13,260 per violation
 
Willful or Repeated $132,598 per violation
 
Failure to Abate $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org.
 
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OSHA Rescinds Part of the Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

In Line with AGC Recommendations
On Jan. 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule amending the recordkeeping regulation by rescinding—in line with AGC recommendations—the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injuries and Illnesses Incident Report). AGC called for this amendment because (1) information in the Form 301 could lead to the public disclosure of individual employees’ identity and private health information; and (2) data included in the forms could unfairly characterize a construction contractor’s safety and health record. These establishments will continue to submit information from their OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) as has been required in 2017 and 2018.
For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org

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AGC In-House Environmental Managers Meeting | February 20, 2019 | Arlington, VA

Are you an environmental professional working at a general construction firm? Join your peers at the next AGC In-House Environmental Managers (IHEM) meeting on Feb. 20, 2019, at AGC’s Headquarters in Arlington, VA. The IHEM meeting creates a forum for greater peer-to-peer learning and interaction by facilitating a series of moderated roundtable discussions. You choose the topics in advance and then spend the day sharing first-hand experiences and discussing solutions to the challenges on your to-do lists. Visit the meeting site to register today.
Registration is open to professionals working in-house on environmental issues at general construction firms. To ensure active discussion/participation, space for this meeting is limited.  The registration fee of $199 covers breakfast items, lunch, and a reception. AGC has booked a room block with breakfast included at the Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza for $189 per night (plus tax and fees). Click here to book your hotel room online.
For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org or (703) 837-5401.

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AGC Urges Congress to Preserve & Strengthen Employer-Sponsored Health Care Coverage

AGC called upon all members of the new Congress to recognize the important voice employers have in debates about reforming our nation's health care system. Employer-sponsored coverage insures over 181 million American lives and has been the backbone of the U.S. health system for nearly eight decades. AGC believes that benefit offerings and coverage plans in the employer-sponsored system are as diverse as employers themselves and that there is no one-size-fits-all employer plan.
Specifically, AGC called on Congress to preserve the current tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage, promote innovations and diversity of plan designs and offerings for employers, provide employers with compliance relief from burdensome regulations, repeal the Affordable Care Act taxes on employer-sponsored coverage, and protect ERISA.
For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or 202-547-0133 or Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.

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