Federal Contractor Report
December 2017
Federal Government
Conferees Begin Negotiations

On Dec. 2, the Senate passed its version of tax reform legislation on a mostly party line vote of 51-49, with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) being the only Republican to oppose the bill. Prior to the vote, Senate Republicans unveiled a host of last minute changes to the legislation, which included an increase of the pass-through deduction from 17.4 percent to 23 percent. Combined with the Senate’s proposed individual rate schedule, this would lower the top marginal effective tax rate on pass-through businesses to 29.6 percent. This is a significant improvement compared to the original Senate proposal.

A compromised version the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA)—which would authorize nearly $700 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD)—passed Congress. The NDAA contains a host of AGC-backed federal construction procurement provisions important to construction contractors. Most importantly, however, is the fact that a federal contractor blacklisting provision is not in the final NDAA bill, thanks to AGC and industry coalition advocacy efforts.

As we noted previously, the Senate version of the bill originally contained a section that would essentially resurrect the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (Blacklisting) Executive Order. AGC met with Senate offices and have worked with the Blacklisting Coalition to voice the concerns of industry. The compromised defense bill removes that provision. AGC will continue to monitor this study and advocate for the exclusion of any further blacklisting rules.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.
Federal Agencies
AGC Submits Recommendations

Last week AGC submitted recommendations to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In accordance to President Trump’s E.O. 13777 to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens" on the American people, and E.O. 13771 that directs agencies to "identify" at least two existing regulations for elimination whenever any new rule is proposed or issued, the SBA sought input on the agency’s existing regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. AGC highlights the regulatory burden the construction industry bears and offered specific program modifications and solutions relating to performing work with SBA.

Among AGC recommendations are:
• Improving SBA partnering with the construction industry;
• Credit for lower tier small business subcontracting;
• Improve processing and payment of contract modification; and
• Remove the lifetime limitations on protégés in the mentor-protégé program.

AGC will continue to advocate for practical and real reforms with the federal agencies and congress.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.

Calls for Congressional Repeal These Agency Policies

On November 15, AGC urged Congress to repeal—under the Congressional Review Act (CRA)—burdensome federal agency policies, including the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) multi-employer citation policy, the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) bid preference policy for construction project proposals including project labor agreements (PLAs), and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) guidance seeking to hold individuals in construction firms criminally liable for company offenses. A recent decision by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed what AGC informed Congress of last November: that Congress may repeal not only final rules under the CRA, but also agency guidance and policies.

Collectively, these policies place unnecessary and unreasonable risks on contractors, often driving up the cost of construction. The OSHA multi-employer citation policy has created a confounding web of risk for prime contractors, often considered controlling employers responsible for the miscues of other contractors on the jobsite. GSA is the only federal construction agency that provides a 10 point bid preference for proposals with PLAs. And, the DOJ policy encourages prosecutorial fishing expeditions, instead of calculated enforcement efforts to address the actions of bad actors.

AGC has previously encouraged the administration to address these policies and will continue to work with both Congress and the agencies to repeal them.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org.
Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP
Upcoming Events

AGC 99th Annual Convention
February 26-28, 2018
New Orleans, Louisiana
Celebrating 100 Years of Construction

Naylor Association Solutions
Naylor Association Solutions
PABs, Advanced Refunding & Historic Tax Credit

Last week, AGC—along with a broad group of stakeholders—urged congressional leaders to maintain key provisions in the tax code that help finance infrastructure projects throughout the country. Among others, AGC addressed maintaining the tax exempt status of Private Activity Bonds (PABs). PABs are a traditional means of tax exempt financing for surface transportation projects, airports, ports facilities, water and wastewater facilities, and multi-family housing projects. PABs and their tax exempt status were eliminated in the House bill, but maintained in the Senate bill.

AGC also continues to push to maintain the use of Advanced Refunding of Municipal Bonds, which is a tool that allows states and localities to free up borrowing capacity for new investment in infrastructure by taking advantage of lower interest rates on outstanding debt. Advanced Refunding was eliminated in both the House and Senate bills. Additionally, AGC continues to push to maintain another tool – the Historic Tax Credit – as the House bill eliminates the credit and the Senate bill severely restricts its use.

Contact your Representative and Senators and tell them to not slash these important incentives for public and private construction.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.

AGC News
Help us generate a comprehensive outlook for 2018 by taking the survey today

Each year around this time, AGC asks you – our members – to predict what next year will be like for your business. This year AGC has partnered with Sage to prepare questions that focus on expectations for market performance, hiring, labor market conditions, etc. Please take a moment to complete the survey.

The ConstructorCast is AGC of America’s monthly podcast covering all the news, views, and interviews relevant to your construction business. Each month, we pick a new topic and sit down with experts to go in depth on some of the most pressing subjects in the construction industry. Search for it on your mobile device’s podcast app to subscribe, or visit our website for more information.



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