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Phyllis Harden

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

House Committee Moves FY 2017 Transportation Funding Bill

May 26, 2016

<p>With Senate action already finished, the House Appropriations Committee this week approved the FY 2017 transportation appropriations bill. Both versions of the legislation maintain the funding levels set in the 2015 FAST Act, with highway funding set at $43.266 billion (up 2 percent from last year) and transit formula funding set at $9.734 billion (up 4.3 percent). Both bills include a key, AGC-backed provision that sets restrictions on the use of a U.S. DOT pilot program that enables state or local grant recipients to utilize local or geographical, economic-based, and veterans hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and federal transit projects. While there is still work to be done, inclusion of this provision puts us in a great position to continue the certification requirements in 2017. Both bills also include the truck driver hours of service provision that would retain use of the truck driver 34-hour “restart” without setting specific times when drivers must rest. There was an attempt in the House Committee to strip the restart language from the bill, but AGC was successful in defeating that amendment.</p>

Bipartisan Support in House for Highway Trust Fund Fix

May 26, 2016

This week, 132 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Sander Levin (Mich.) in support of fixing the Highway Trust Fund as part of comprehensive tax reform.  Thanks to the AGC members who met with their representatives during the TCC Fly-In or contacted their representatives asking them to sign the letter.

House Holds Hearing on OSHA's New Recordkeeping Rule

May 26, 2016

<p>This week, AGC delivered a <a href=""><u>letter</u> </a>to the House Education and the Workforce Committee for a hearing that examined the Occupational Safety &amp; Health Administration’s (OSHA) rule on Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. AGC is concerned the rule will significantly limit how employers are able to enforce policies that have been established to ensure timely reporting of incidents, as well as implement and enforce other safety and health policies. The rule could discourage employers from administering post-accident drug testing, and the rule would also place employer safety incentive programs in jeopardy.</p>

Puerto Rico Financial Crisis Legislation Advances

May 26, 2016

<p>On May 25, the House Natural Resources Committee passed legislation that with sensible fiscal reforms—and no taxpayer dollars for a bailout—to address the financial crisis in Puerto Rico. The <a href="">AGC-backed</a> bill would create a debt-restructuring process, empower a federal oversight board to supervise the territory’s fiscal affairs and create a redevelopment authority that will help rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. As it stands, many Puerto Rican government entities are unable to pay contractors for work completed on government construction projects and the public and private construction markets there remain on life support.</p>

AGC Objects to DOD Contracting Proposed Rule

May 26, 2016

<p>On May 24, AGC objected to the Department of Defense’s <a href=""><u>proposed change</u> </a>to the Defense Federal Acquisition Supplement (DFARS) that would prohibit the use of any cost-plus system of contracting for military construction and military family housing projects governed under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. AGC noted that a blanket prohibition of the use of a cost-plus system will prevent federal construction owners from selecting the best contracting and project delivery methods to meet the demands of any given construction project.</p>

AGC-Supported $5 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill Advances

May 26, 2016

On May 25, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved an AGC-supported $5 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 28 new Army Corps projects, which you can find here.

AGC-Backed Civilian BRAC Bills Pass House

May 26, 2016

<p>On May 23, the House unanimously approved <a href=""><u>two AGC-supported bills</u></a> – The Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act, <a href=""><u>H.R. 4487</u></a>, and the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act, <a href=""><u>H.R. 4465</u> </a>– that would encourage federal agencies to dispose of, consolidate, or redevelop at least $8 billion of excess or underutilized civilian federal real property. These bills will help grow private construction markets by encouraging redevelopment and a more efficient use of real property by the private or federal sectors. For example, GSA sold an abandoned heating plant in Washington, D.C., for $19.5 million that will be converted into high-end condominiums, requiring private construction work of more than $100 million. A Senate committee earlier passed its own federal real property reform legislation. AGC will continue to press the Senate to pass these bills.</p>

House Panel Advances AGC Procurement Reform Priorities

May 19, 2016

<p>On May 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unanimously approved AGC-supported <a href=""><u>legislation</u> </a>that would (1) require civilian federal agencies—non-Department of Defense agencies—to utilize the two-step design-build selection process for design-build projects greater than $3 million, thereby limiting one-step design-build procurements; and (2) help prohibit reverse auctions for certain construction services. Introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the bill—H.R. 5199—is nearly identical to the <a href=""><u>AGC-backed legislation</u></a> passed by a Senate Committee in February. AGC will continue to push for enactment of these procurement reforms.</p>

AGC-Backed Design-Build Rule Finalized

May 19, 2016

<p>On May 16, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council issued an AGC-supported <a href=""><u>final rule</u></a> that effectively limits the second-step (“short-list”) of the two-step design-build procurement process to no more than five teams. Through <a href=""><u>AGC’s efforts</u></a>, this reform was passed by Congress in 2014. For AGC’s comments on that proposed rule, click <a href=""><u>here</u></a>.</p>

AGC Wins Another Round Against Blacklisting Executive Order

May 19, 2016

<p>In what may be a 12-round bout, AGC has scored another victory on the path to expunging President Obama’s <u><a href="">Blacklisting Executive Order</a>.</u> On May 19, the House of Representatives approved legislation that includes 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 would not apply to Department of Defense and National Nuclear Security Administration contracts. AGC will work with Congress to limit the Executive Order.</p>

Transportation Funding Bills Advance; Includes AGC-Backed Pilot Program

May 19, 2016

This week, the House and Senate both made progress in moving their respective transportation funding bill for fiscal year 2017.  Both bills include a key, AGC-backed provision that sets restrictions on the use of a U.S. DOT pilot program that enables state or local grant recipients to utilize local or geographical, economic-based, and veterans hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and federal transit projects.

Senate Committee Passes AGC-Supported Bill Reauthorizing the Diesel Emission Reduction Act

May 19, 2016

This week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program through 2021 at $100 million per year.  This bill is identical to a provision that legislators included in the recently passed Senate Energy Modernization Act. AGC and our coalition partners will continue to push for a DERA reauthorization prior to the expiration of the current program on Sept. 30, 2016. Further updates on DERA status and grant availability can be found here.

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