AGC ACTION ALERT: TAKE ACTION TO OPPOSE THE PRO ACT

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Tell Your Representatives to Support Increased Airport Infrastructure


The House of Representatives has yet to move forward and consider the 21ST Century Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, as it is unclear whether the bill has enough votes to pass. The AIRR Act would reauthorize Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs. As we reported last week, the bill fails to adequately invest in airport infrastructure. The vote delay provides you another opportunity to contact your representative and ask them to support increased funding for our nation’s airport infrastructure.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

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H-2B Seasonal Worker Visa Cap Increased for 2017

On July 19, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor issued a final rule authorizing a one-time increase in the number of H-2B visas, which allow foreigners to work in seasonal positions. The rule increased the annual 66,000 visa cap by 15,000 for such workers and expires on September 30.  AGC supports a permanent expansion of the H-2B visa statutory cap by exempting returning seasonal workers who have followed the law from counting against the limit. Additionally, changes should be made to the visa program to better fit the distinct needs of the construction industry.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at [email protected] or 703-837-5325. 

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Trump Administration Releases New Details on Regulatory Agenda

Silica, WOTUS, Paid Sick Leave, Local Hiring and More
The Trump administration released new details on its regulatory and deregulatory plans. Issued July 20, the 2017 Spring Unified Agenda provides some answers and many questions about the future of major regulatory issues facing AGC contractors. On the positive side, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its goal to issue a new rule on the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act by the end of this year and kicked the can on new stormwater regulations as well as lead paint rules for public and commercial buildings. Also, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) signaled the withdrawal of regulatory efforts to further address: the establishment of an injury and illness prevention program (I2P2); noise in construction; combustible dust; and preventing back over injuries and fatalities. On the negative side, OSHA did not provide any details on plans for its silica standard, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council provided its plan to issue a final rule to cement the direct federal contractor paid sick leave regulation, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) punted on any effort to withdraw the local hiring proposed rule and has still left in place the existing pilot program.
On the whole, the Trump administration has slowed the federal regulatory machine. In the first five months of 2017, the administration’s regulatory efforts produced quantifiable annualized cost savings estimated at $22 million, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs due to rules finalized during last five months of fiscal year 2016. AGC remains engaged in the legal fight against the silica rule and will push back on DOT and the FAR Council decisions on local hiring and paid sick leave, respectively. For more details, read the 2017 Regulatory Road Ahead.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at [email protected] or 703-837-5325.

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AGC Connects You with the Regulatory Agencies in Unique Compliance Assistance Hour

Access the Resources You Need at AGC’s 2017 Construction Environmental Conference on Sept. 13-14
AGC has invited many federal agency offices to attend a special Compliance Assistance Hour at AGC’s 2017 Construction Environmental Conference (CEC) on September 13-14 in Crystal City, Virginia.  Attendees will have access to resources on a wide breadth of issues and a forum to discuss environmental compliance or sustainability issues one-on-one and ask questions.  AGC also asked a few of the national organizations focusing on sustainable infrastructure to participate.
Check out the “invited list.”  Additional resources and registration are available online at http://meetings.agc.org/cec/.
Please contact AGC’s Melinda Tomaino at [email protected] if you have any questions about AGC’s 2017 CEC.  If you’re interested in sponsoring the conference, please contact Cheyenne Brewbaker at [email protected].

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AGC’s 2017 Workforce Survey is Open – Your Participation is Needed!

We continue to hear from many of you that the labor market remains tight. While it is clear that worker shortages are, in some cases, a significant problem for many contractors, we feel it is important to continue our efforts to better quantify where these shortages are taking place, how severe they are, and what steps firms are taking to both cope with tight labor markets and improve the supply of new, qualified workers. That is why we will be asking members to take a few minutes to complete the following workforce survey.
The more people understand the scope, and consequences, of a tight construction labor market, the more likely they are to act on the measures we identify in our Workforce Development Plan that are designed to make it easier for school systems, local associations and private firms to establish career and technical education and training programs. We invite you to share this survey with your members so that we can hear from as many voices as possible. Thank you for your help in getting the word out.
For more information, contact Brian Turmail at [email protected] or (703) 837-5310.

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House Subcommittee Advances Drinking Water Reauthorization Legislation

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment advanced legislation that seeks to bring greater investment in the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure as well as facilitate compliance for our drinking water delivery systems. The Drinking Water System Improvement Act of 2017 would authorize $8 billion over five years for the drinking water state revolving loan fund (SRF), as well as expand the eligible uses of program funds. The legislation also seeks to modernize the compliance system for water utilities and reauthorize funding for drinking water source protection programs. The legislation passed the subcommittee by voice vote, indicating its lack of controversy and bipartisan support.
Unfortunately, the measure also contains a provision that would include the American Iron and Steel provisions (that have been added to the program each year in the past) for the five-year life of the legislation. These measures require that for certain iron and steel products, all processes (including melting and pouring of the steel) must take place in the U.S.
AGC will continue to advocate for water and wastewater infrastructure, and will monitor this legislation as it advances through the process.
For more information, contact Scott Berry at [email protected] or (703) 837-5321.

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Treasury Department, IRS Release Report on Tax Regulations Under Consideration for Repeal or Modification

Includes AGC-Opposed 2704 and 385 Regulations
On April 21st, President Trump signed an Executive Order requiring the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to evaluate all tax regulations issued since Jan. 1, 2016, and identify any regulations that 1) impose an undue financial burden on United States taxpayers; 2) add undue complexity to the Federal tax laws; or 3) exceed the statutory authority of the Internal Revenue Service. In response, last Friday the agencies released an interim report identifying a number of regulations that warranted further review.  Included in the list were both the proposed regulations under section 2704 on “Restrictions on Liquidation of an Interest for Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes” – also known as the “2704 regulations” – and the final regulations under Section 385 on the “Treatment of Certain Interests in Corporations as Stock or Indebtedness” – also known as the “385 regulations”.
AGC commented on both of these regulations as being problematic for the construction industry.  Regarding the proposed 2704 regulations, on October 5, 2016, over 730 family-owned AGC member companies signed a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requesting a complete withdrawal of the regulations, and on November 1, 2016, AGC submitted formal comments on the proposed regulations, also calling for their withdrawal.  While the proposed rule is not final – and we do not expect it to become final under the Trump Administration – until it is formally withdrawn, it remains “pending.”
Regarding the 385 regulations, on July 8, 2016 AGC submittedcomments to the IRS offering recommendations that would curtail the proposed regulation’s effects on domestic construction companies. Fortunately, Treasury listened to AGC members’ concerns and exempted domestic construction firms from key parts of the final rule.  That said, Treasury and IRS are reviewing this regulation to see if it can be further improved to reduce the regulatory impact on businesses.  If the Agencies propose any changes to the 385 regulations, the rule will have to go through the formal notice and comment process because it became final last year.
Treasury is requesting comments on whether the regulations described in this notice should be rescinded or modified, and in the latter case, how the regulations should be modified in order to reduce burdens and complexity. Comments from the public are due by August 7, 2017.
For more information, contact Matthew Turkstra at 202-547-4733 or

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DERA Reauthorization Voted Out of Senate Committee

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee approved AGC-supported bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) through fiscal year 2022 at its current funding level of $50 million. Similar bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the House but has yet to see committee action.
AGC has continually fought to keep the diesel retrofit grants made available through DERA flowing to equipment owners since 2008 – the inaugural year of funding for the DERA program. Since 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded funds to over 690 projects to reduce diesel emissions nationwide.
AGC and our coalition partners will continue to push for a long-term reauthorization of DERA, while also urging Congress to fund the program at their authorized levels.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected]org or (202) 537-8892.

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Tell Your Representatives to Support Increased Airport Infrastructure

Next week the House of Representatives will consider the 21ST Century Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, a bill to reauthorize the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The bill was voted out of the Transportation& Infrastructure Committee on a largely party-line vote due in large part to the bill’s key tenant – spinning of FAA’s Air Traffic Control operations to a new non-profit corporation, while leaving the FAA in charge of safety regulation and airport grants. Email your House representative NOW and let them know you support increased funding for our nation’s airport infrastructure.
During debate of the bill an AGC-supported amendment increasing funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was adopted.  Unfortunately, the House Budget Committee objected to that increase, which has resulted in a slash to the AIP funding level supported by the committee. In addition to the removal of increased funding for AIP, the AIRR Act also fails to include the AGC-supported lift of the $4.50 Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) cap that airports are seeking to help finance vital airport infrastructure projects.
The bill will soon be considered by the House Rules Committee prior to being taken up by the full House of Representatives, where amendments may be added to provide more funding and financing options for airport infrastructure.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 537-8892.

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AGC Financial Issues Committee Summer Meeting Recap

This past week, nearly 40 member company CFOs and other senior accounting and tax professionals attended the AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Summer Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.  The Committee inaugurated a new Chairman, John Rogoz of Krauss-Anderson Construction, and congratulated outgoing Chairman, Dave Allison, on receiving AGC of America’s National Committee Chair of the Year.
Committee members discussed the construction industry’s priorities for tax reform with Rep. Erik Paulson (R-MN), and Kyle Hauptman, Policy Director for Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR); discussed the use of information technology (IT) in contracting with Dave Anderskow at Palmer Consulting; received an update on the implementation of new accounting standards from Cullen Walsh at FASB; and heard from AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson about the economic outlook for construction.
The next meeting of the FIC will be the Winter Meeting scheduled for January 7-9, 2018, in San Diego, CA.  Meeting and hotel information will be circulated in the coming weeks.
For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at [email protected] or (202) 547-

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