AGC ACTION ALERT: TAKE ACTION TO OPPOSE THE PRO ACT

LATEST NEWS

Amendment for ELD Mandate Extension Defeated

An amendment to a House omnibus appropriations bill offered by Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) to extend for one year the mandate for installing Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) on trucks to monitor drivers’ hours of service was defeated by a 173-246 vote last night. Sixty-seven Republicans, joined 179 Democrats to reject a proposal that would have denied funding in fiscal 2018 to enforce the rule on ELDs.
Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) mandates that all motor carriers required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS) for Hours of Service (HOS) compliance for their drivers must install ELDs by Dec. 17, 2017. AGC has sought an exemption from this requirement for construction industry truck drivers but that request has not been accepted. Babin also previously introduced H.R. 3282, to extend for two years the ELD deadline and his amendment attempted to address the issue in a must pass bill. Despite H.R. 3282 having 42 cosponsors, the strong vote in opposition does not bode well for the extension. AGC will continue to push for relief from the ELD mandate. Contact your representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 3282 and delay this mandate.
For more information, contact Brian Deery at [email protected] or (703) 837-5319.

Add your reaction Share

AGC Urges Labor Department to Modernize Davis-Bacon Certified Payroll Reporting Requirements

AGC of America submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division on Sept. 5 recommending several specific ideas on how to reform and modernize the weekly pay and certified payroll submission requirements as mandated by the Davis-Bacon and related Acts.
Processing and submitting payroll data on a weekly basis is burdensome, costly, and out of touch with modern business practices. Additionally, while the Wage and Hour Division has affirmed that electronic submission of payroll data is sufficient for compliance, AGC continues to hear that not all contracting agencies make electronic submission an easy or valid option.
AGC’s comment letter urges the Division to consider changing the weekly pay requirement to no less than bi-weekly and concurrently allowing contractors until before the next regular payment date of the payroll period to submit payroll reports.  AGC also asks the Division to require all agencies accept electronic certified payrolls for compliance or work with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council if the Wage and Hour Division lacks the authority to do so. Several of these requests require statutory update to the Davis-Bacon Act itself and AGC calls on the Division to consider regulatory action and work with the U.S. Congress to improve the requirements of the laws in a manner that is beneficial to both construction contractors and the agency.
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at [email protected] or 703-837-5382.

Add your reaction Share

AGC Continues to Press for Environmental Streamlining

Presents Case to Senate Committee
AGC continued to press for federal environmental permitting and review process streamlining to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Sept. 7. Holding a hearing on the need for such streamlining given reforms in the most recent highway and transit reauthorization laws (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)), the Committee sought additional input and AGC delivered. In its statement, AGC highlighted several deficiencies in MAP-21 and FAST Act environmental reforms—including any hard deadlines for agency permitting and review decisions—explained the redundancies that could be more efficiently done without sacrificing environmental stewardship—such as concurrent undertaking of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting process—and proposed reforms to frivolous environmental citizen lawsuits, among other things.
Earlier this year, AGC testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on this topic. AGC also testified on environmental paperwork reforms before the House Small Business Committee. The association additionally shared its proposals for environmental reform at the requests of the House Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, among others. The association continues to receive requests for presentations on its ideas and is working with Congress and regulatory agencies to make these recommendations for streamlining the process a reality.
For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at [email protected] or (703) 837-5332.

Add your reaction Share

WebEd: OSHA's New Silica Standard for Construction: Are You Equipped to Comply?

FREE to AGC-Members and Non-Members
On Sept. 23, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin to enforce their respirable crystalline silica standard for the construction industry. This is arguably one of the most complex standards the construction industry has ever faced and it impacts a wide range of industries and activities. Do you understand how the new standard impacts your employees and operations? Have you identified and started to implement the steps required to prepare your organization for compliance? Does your team have the tools necessary to confidently transition into implementation of the standard?  Join the AGC of America Safety & Health staff and other industry professionals on September 18, 2017 as they take a deeper dive into complying with the new standard. Companies must act now to understand the compliance requirements of the new standard and make the necessary adjustments to their operations to avoid severe penalties.
Click here for more information and to register for the WebEd, or contact Nazia Shah at [email protected] or (703) 837-5409.

Add your reaction Share

OSHA Issues Proposed Rule to Extend Compliance Deadline for Crane Operator Certification Requirements

On August 30, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to further extend the employer's responsibility to ensure crane operator competency and enforcement for crane operator certification from Nov. 10, 2017 to Nov. 10, 2018. During this time, OSHA will work to address stakeholder concerns over the operator certification requirements in the 2010 Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. AGC will submit comments—due Sept. 29, 2017—in favor of the extension.  OSHA’s press release can be found here.
For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at [email protected] or (703) 837-5410.

Add your reaction Share

Congress Returns Next Week to a Full Plate

Deadlines Loom, Hurricane Harvey Relief Needed, Shutdown Unlikely
Congress returns next week with only 12 legislative days to deal with several looming deadlines before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Once again, Congress has failed to send any of their annual appropriations bills to the president’s desk for his signature and, as a result, a continuing resolution will have to be in place prior to the end of the fiscal year in order to prevent a government shutdown.  Congress must also deal with raising the debt limit and the expiration of authorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program.
As recently as last week, battles over raising the debt limit and funding the government seemed inevitable. However, the much-needed aid to help Hurricane Harvey cleanup and recovery efforts appears to put off some of those battles – at least for now.  It is speculated that Congress is likely to combine emergency aid for Harvey with a continuing resolution and a debt-limit increase. This scenario would almost ensure passage and avoid a presidential veto, even if the package omits funding for a border wall.
As with most things in Washington, nothing is guaranteed but it does appear that the need to act on Hurricane Harvey relief will delay some of the battles that President Trump and Congress were gearing up for in September.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

Add your reaction Share

OMB Halts New EEO-1 Pay Data Collection Requirements; Original EEO-1 Reporting Still in Effect

On Aug. 29, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) informed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that it is initiating a review and immediate stay of the effectiveness of the pay data collection aspects of the EEO-1 form that was revised on Sept. 29, 2016, in accordance with its authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). OMB’s decision follows AGC’s regulatory recommendations, specifically that the new EEO-1 requirements were unnecessary and burdensome.
OMB’s action does not completely rescind the revised EEO-1 Report, but it does relieve employers of their obligation to file the new “Component 2” (W-2 pay and FLSA hours worked information). The previously approved EEO-1 form which collects data on race, ethnicity and gender by occupational category will remain in effect. Employers should plan to comply with the earlier approved EEO-1 (Component 1) by the previously set filing date of March 2018.
AGC opposed the new data collection, calling upon the Trump administration and Congress to rescind the Obama administration Presidential Memorandum ordering the new EEO-1 form, and the form itself. AGC submitted comprehensive comments explaining its position to the EEOC in April and August 2016. AGC also testified against this new requirement before Congress in September 2016.
AGC commends OMB and the EEOC for providing contractors with the necessary regulatory relief and will notify members of any further developments.
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at [email protected] or 703-837-5382.

Add your reaction Share

Department of Transportation to Withdraw Local Hire Rule

According to its August Significant Rulemaking Report, the Department of Transportation (DOT) intends to terminate its proposed rule to allow states to impose local hire requirements on contractors working on Federal-aid highway projects. While DOT never finalized this rule, the Obama Administration establish a one year pilot program allowing states to use local hire requirements on an experimental basis. In a last-minute action before the end of its term, the Obama administration extended the pilot program for an additional five years. Last week’s notice expresses DOT's intent to terminate the permanent rule but does not address the pilot program. However, DOT is expected to eliminate the pilot program as well.
AGC has opposed this rule from its inception in comments on the proposal. AGC also discussed our opposition in a meeting with Transportation Secretary Chao early in her term and in letters to DOT on its efforts to reduce regulatory burdens. AGC was also successful in getting language in the DOT appropriations legislation requiring states, in order to receive permission to use a local hire preference, to certify that there is a ready pool of unemployed individuals who reside in the jurisdiction who have the necessary construction skills for the project, that the contractor would not be forced to lay off any current employees to meet the mandate and that the cost of the construction would not increase. FHWA is requiring states using a local hire requirement to meet these certification requirements.
 For more information, contact Brian Deery at [email protected] or (703) 837-5319.

Add your reaction Share

Tell Congress to Fund Infrastructure in Tax Reform

Contact your Representatives and Senators
There is still time before the end of the August congressional recess for you to reach out to your representative and senators and tell them to fix the Highway Trust Fund as part of tax reform and invest in transportation infrastructure. Congress does not return to Washington until next Tuesday and we encourage all our members to use this time to meet with and email your members of Congress and tell them to include a permanent Highway Trust Fund fix as part of any tax reform or new infrastructure initiative.
The Hardhats for Highways site has additional information including a TCC background document and talking points for your visits.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

Add your reaction Share

AGC Makes Case to Link Infrastructure and Tax Reform

As Congress and the Administration work toward their mutual goal of passing comprehensive tax reform and a new infrastructure initiative, AGC continues to make the case to leaders on Capitol Hill that rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and reforming our outdated tax code should go hand-in-hand.  Many Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree that combining tax and infrastructure reform into one package makes perfect sense.  In fact, members of both parties in the House of Representatives sent President Trump a letter earlier this year expressing their support in pursuing an infrastructure and tax reform package, saying “comprehensive tax reform could free up significant capital for infrastructure as well as other investments enabling businesses large and small to invent, innovate and hire.
AGC continues to advocate for reforms to the tax code that would benefit the construction industry, and recently sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee outlining those priorities.  But, including infrastructure in tax reform would have a positive impact on economic growth in the short and long term.  In the short term, a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office noted, every dollar invested in infrastructure, on average, generates as much as $2.50 in incremental output over the following six quarters.  This is the highest multiplier among all major Federal spending programs or from tax cuts to individuals and businesses.  In the long-term, infrastructure investments can boost our economy by creating significantly more new and high-paying jobs in construction and related fields.  These investments will also make businesses more competitive by reducing shipping, commuting, water and energy costs.
At AGC’s upcoming National Chapter Leader Conference (NCLC) – September 24-26 – participants will be going to Capitol Hill to make the case that infrastructure investment should be a part of tax reform.  Among AGC’s infrastructure priorities are to find a permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund, maintain the tax exempt status of municipal bonds, ensure and expand the use of Private Activity Bonds, establish a Clean Water Trust Fund, increase funding for airport infrastructure, and make better use of federal buildings and property.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

Add your reaction Share