Federal Contractor Report
July 2017
Federal Government
Bill Encourages Agency Change Order Accountability

On June 15, the House Small Business Committee passed, by a bipartisan vote of 21-0, the AGC-supported "Small Business Payment for Performance Act of 2017." The bill will ensure small business federal contractors get paid sooner for change orders. Specifically, the legislation requires a federal agency that receives a request for equitable adjustment (REA) to pay 50% of the billed change order work amount in a timely manner to offset extra costs. This practice is common in the private industry, including in ConsensusDocs Contract Documents, but absent in federal contracts. Last month, AGC members Ed DeLisle and Andy Brown testified before the House Small Business Committee on change order delays and the impacts these have on federal construction contractors. Many House Small Business Committee members referenced the hearing as a motivating factor for their support of H.R. 2594 and accompanying amendments.

On June 15, the House Appropriations Committee approved a Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill that totals $88.8 billion for fiscal year 2018. This is $6 billion more than fiscal year 2017. The bill provides a total of $10.2 billion for military construction projects, an increase of $2.1 billion or about 25 percent, above fiscal year 2017. Navy and Marine Corps construction is funded at $1.5 billion. The VA portion of the bill funded major and minor construction within the VA at $753 million. This bill provides the full request for the construction of major medical facilities. Further, the bill provides $1.4 billion to fund construction, operation, and maintenance of military family housing for fiscal year 2018. The bill includes $737 million for construction and alterations for new or existing military medical facilities, an increase of $433 million above the fiscal year 2017 level.
Federal Agencies
Discusses Federal Agency Reforms

On June 9, AGC met with senior officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss ways to restructure federal agencies, improve the functions of federal procurement, and prevent agencies from duplicating and directly competing with the private sector for activities already performed by construction companies. On March 13, the President signed an Executive Order that aims to make the federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable. This Executive Order directs the Office of Management and Budget to present the president with a plan that recommends ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary programs within government agencies.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the pre-publication version of a proposed rule to rescind the Obama-era 2015 "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule that defines what streams, wetlands and other wet areas are controlled by the federal government and subject to the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act. This action is the first step in a comprehensive, two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of WOTUS consistent with President Trump’s Executive Order on "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule."
Announces Intent to Review Controversial Recordkeeping Rule Covering Drug Testing

On June 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formally proposed a rule to extend the original deadline for contractors to electronically submit their 2016 injury and illness data (Form 300A) from July 1 to December 1, 2017. OSHA now expects to launch the electronic data collection system by August 1, allowing contractors four months to familiarize themselves with the new system. AGC will submit comments in favor of the extension.
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Bills Include a Number of Key AGC Priorities

In late June, the House and Senate moved forward with their respective reauthorizations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). AGC weighed in with the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees on construction contractors’ priorities for the legislation. The current FAA Authorization expires on Sept. 30.
AGC News
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. and Lake Charles, La. Have Largest Year-over-Year Gains; Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas and Danville, Ill. Experience Biggest Declines for the Year

Construction employment increased in 245 out of 358 metro areas between May 2016 and May 2017, declined in 59 and stagnated in 54, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released in June by AGC of America. Association officials noted that construction employment gains in many parts of the country are occurring even as most firms report having a hard time finding qualified workers to hire.
Contractors Struggle to Fill Jobs despite Hourly Earnings 10 Percent Higher than Private-Sector Average; Association Officials Call for Measures to Make it Easier to Set Up Construction Training Programs

Construction employment increased by 16,000 jobs in June to the highest level since October 2008, signaling a new burst of hiring after three months of pause, according to an analysis of new government data by AGC of America. Association officials urged federal, state and local lawmakers to enact measures to make it easier for school officials, local associations and construction firms to set up construction training programs.

On June 20, AGC of America joined 113 other national trade associations in calling for members of the US House of Representatives to support H.R. 2101 - the Prior Approval Reform Act. You can help our efforts by contacting your representative and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 2101 – the Prior Approval Reform Act.



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