Congress Leaves for August Recess
Before the Representatives left for their August recess, House lawmakers passed H.R. 3219
, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act. The bill includes funding provisions from four separate appropriations bills – Department of Defense, Legislative Branch, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Water. Noteworthy provisions to AGC members include: $10.2 billion for roughly 220 military construction projects, $753 million for both the major and minor construction of VA facilities, and $1.57 billion for the southern border wall.
Recently President Trump announced his support for a major shift in national immigration policy. Trump teamed with Senators David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in support of legislation – the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act
– that would impose a merit-based immigration system and would curtail the family- and humanitarian-based options for entry into the country. The goal of the proposal would be to limit legal immigration, which hovers around 1 million entrants every year by half, and it would also rescind the diversity lottery as well as cap annual refugee admittances.
Senate Leaders Finalize Deal that Significantly Increases Number of Trump Appointees Approved by the Senate
AGC signed onto a letter recently with more than 90 groups that said that "the slow pace of confirmations is depriving agencies across the government of critical leadership and in the case of independent agencies, the quorum necessary to conduct critical business." It noted that there were numerous nominees ready to be confirmed ("over 80 nominees to administration positions have been reported favorably by the committee of jurisdiction but were awaiting Senate confirmation") and, it is estimated that at the current rate, "it will take 11 years to confirm all of the president’s nominees to executive branch positions."
Also Recommends Change Order & Other Reforms
AGC urged the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to rescind its project labor agreement (PLA) bid preference policy in the association’s detailed response
to GSA’s request for regulatory reform. GSA is the only major federal construction agency to include such a bid preference in its procurement process.
On Aug. 1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The web-based form allows employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. The application is accessible from the ITA webpage.
AGC of America submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor on August 10 in support of the Department’s proposed rule
to rescind the controversial "persuader rule" issued during the Obama Administration.
On Wednesday, Aug. 2, the U.S. Senate confirmed Marvin Kaplan along a party-line vote to be a board member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Despite the administration change in January, the NLRB has been operating under Obama appointees because of two vacancies. AGC welcomes the addition of Kaplan to the board given his extensive labor policy background as a previous administration and congressional staff member. The addition of Kaplan moves the NLRB one step closer to changing the five-member board from majority Democrat to majority Republican.
August 15, 2017
WebEd: Part 1 - New 2017 AIA A201 Webinar Series
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
August 15, 2017
WebEd: Busted! The Top Six Myths of Lean Construction
2 to 3 p.m.
August 16, 2017
WebEd: Part 2 - New 2017 AIA A201 Webinar Series
2 to 3:30 p.m.
August 23, 2017
WebEd: BIMForum BxP Series, Level Of Development (LOD) Specification Update
3 to 4 p.m.
September 13, 2017
WebEd: Modularization - An Industry Best Practice to Improve Project Performance
2 to 3 p.m.
September 13-14, 2017
AGC Construction Environmental Conference
Crystal City, Virginia
September 14, 2017
WebEd: Evaluating Your Collaboration & Commissioning Technology
2 to 3 p.m.
September 18, 2017
WebEd: OSHA’s New Silica Standard for Construction: Are You Equipped to Comply?
2 to 3:30 p.m.
Contractors Struggle to Fill Jobs Despite Hourly Earnings 10 Percent Higher than Private-Sector Average; Association Officials Urge Local, State and Federal Leaders to Offer More Construction-Focused Programs
Construction employment increased by 6,000 jobs in July to the highest level since October 2008, amid a tight labor market that may be keeping contractors from hiring as many workers as they need, according to an analysis of new government data by AGC of America. Association officials urged local, state and federal leaders to enact measures designed to expose more high school students to high-paying careers in construction to offset growing labor shortages.
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. and Bloomington, Ill. Experience Largest Year-over-Year Gains; Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas and Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. Have Biggest Annual Declines
Construction employment increased in 264 out of 358 metro areas between June 2016 and June 2017, declined in 57 and stagnated in 37, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by AGC of America. Association officials noted that even though most metro areas added construction jobs, the employment gains were particularly pronounced in the western third of the country.