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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Congress Continues Holding Hearings on Tax Reform, Forward Progress still Unknown

April 28, 2016

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on ways Congress could reform the business tax code to make it more globally competitive and to consider the findings of the Committee’s bipartisan business income tax working group. Members also discussed anticipated discussion drafts on corporate integration and cost recovery reform from leaders of the committee. AGC has been actively involved in vetting the discussion drafts with both the committee’s majority and minority staff. AGC will continue to monitor these legislative proposals that have the aim to provide clarity, simplicity and certainty for construction firms.

AGC Prevents Cuts to Army Corps Construction Funds

April 28, 2016

<p>This week, AGC <a href=""><u>successfully blocked</u></a> legislation that would cut millions of dollars from the Army Corps of Engineers civil works construction program in fiscal year 2017. Sen. Jeff Flake introduced the amendment to the USACE annual funding bill that failed on an <a href=";session=2&amp;vote=00063"><u>84-12</u></a> vote. The Senate continues to consider the USACE funding bill as of publication.</p>

AGC Successful in Advancing Clean Water Trust Fund and Other Water Infrastructure Provisions in Senate WRDA Bill

April 28, 2016

AGC and its industry coalition partners in the Water Infrastructure Network have been working for a number of months to get significant water infrastructure provisions included in the 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in the Senate. We were successful in getting many important provisions approved by the Committee. The bill creates a longtime AGC priority, a Clean Water Trust Fund, and, while this bill itself does not carry additional funding, it authorizes voluntary contributions to the trust fund. Creation of a trust fund dedicated to water infrastructure opens many new possibilities for future dedicated revenue prospects.

AGC-Backed $9 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill Advances

April 28, 2016

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved an AGC-supported $9 billion Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works construction projects, including locks, dams, levees, harbor maintenance dredging and environmental restoration projects, among other construction projects. Specifically, the bill authorizes 25 new Army Corps projects and modifies 4 existing projects. The bill will now move to the Senate floor for consideration. The House is expected to introduce its version of a WRDA bill in early May.


AGC Wins Round One against Blacklisting Executive Order

April 28, 2016

In what may be a 12-round bout, AGC won round one to block President Obama’s Blacklisting Executive Order. Late last night, the House Armed Services Committee added an AGC-backed provision to the National Defense Authorization Act—a bill that has been annually enacted into law for 54 consecutive years—that ensures the EO will not apply to Department of Defense and National Nuclear Security Administration contracts. AGC will work to expand the application of the EO government-wide when the bill hits the House floor and during consideration in the Senate.

Senate Passes Energy Bill and Includes AGC-Supported Provisions

April 21, 2016

This week the Senate passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 by a vote of 85-12.  The comprehensive energy bill included several provisions supported by AGC, including reauthorizing the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program through 2021 at the current authorization level of $100 million per year.  Further updates on DERA status and grant availability can be found here.

AGC-Supported FAA Bill Passes Senate

April 21, 2016

As reported last week, the Senate was working towards finalizing an AGC-supported reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. This week they passed the bill with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 95-3.

FHWA Proposes Highway Performance Measurements - Suggests Addressing Global Warming

April 21, 2016

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking this week detailing performance measurements for congestion, freight, and on-road mobile source emissions for the National Highway System which it was required to do in the 2013 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) reauthorization law. Under the proposal, states would be required to monitor, report, and set targets for improving performance by measuring travel reliability, peak-hour congestion, freight movements, and on-road emissions of pollutants like ozone. The performance measures would then be used to manage investment of federal-aid highway funds to achieve these state performance goals, which ultimately would help make progress towards meeting national goals. Generally, the measurements are considered an improvement in managing the program and in demonstrating to the public the benefits achieved from federal investments in highways. One of the national commissions set up in earlier SAFETEA-LU legislation called for the establishment of performance measures.

AGC Championed Language Included in Senate Transportation Funding Bill

April 21, 2016

The Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the fiscal year 2017 budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), which included a key provision AGC requested that would set certain conditions on a US DOT pilot program that enables the state or local grant recipients to utilize local or geographical, economic-based, and veterans hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and federal transit projects. The language is identical to a provision that AGC was successful in getting included in last year’s omnibus appropriations bill. The provision requires a grant recipient to certify that a local hire requirement will not force the layoff of a company’s employees, will not significantly increase the cost of the project and that they will not impose local hire requirements unless they can certify that there is an available, trained workforce in the local area.

Pipeline Safety Bill Clears Committee

April 21, 2016

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved legislation to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and advance the cause of pipeline safety. H.R. 4937, the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, is a four-year reauthorization that improves pipeline safety by closing gaps in federal standards. It is also designed to enhance the quality and timeliness of agency rulemakings, promote better usage of data and technology to improve pipeline safety, and provide regulatory certainty for citizens, the safety community, and the industry. The legislation was reported unanimously out of Committee for future consideration by the full House.

AGC-Backed Suit to Block Fed's New Silica Rule to Be Heard in DC Circuit Court

April 21, 2016

<p>Court officials announced late last week that an AGC of America-backed lawsuit to block the Obama Administration’s misguided new silica rule will be heard in the D.C. Circuit Court.&nbsp; AGC, via the Louisiana AGC, filed suit in the 5th Circuit earlier this month to block the measure, arguing that the Administration established a new standard that is beyond the technological limits of current dust removal equipment. As a number of other groups filed similar motions in other circuit courts, judicial officials were forced to select a venue via random lottery.&nbsp; While the DC Circuit is considered less favorable than the 5th Circuit, some of the circuit’s prior case law does appear favorable.</p>

AGC Calls on Congress to Block Labor Department Overtime Rule

April 21, 2016

This week AGC joined with hundreds of national and regional employer groups in support of the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act.  This legislation would require the Department of Labor to perform a detailed impact analysis prior to implementing their proposed changes to overtime pay requirements increasing the minimum salary threshold from $23,660 per year to $50,440 per year. Employers with exempt employees who earn an annual salary less than $50,440 will be impacted.

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