Federal Contractor Report
January 2018
Federal Contractors Conference
May 1-3, 2018

The Federal Contractors Conference is the premier conference for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies, and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, General Services Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.

In addition to substantive discussions and presentations with federal agencies, attendees will hear from legal experts about the latest federal regulations that will impact their businesses. Attendees may also have the opportunity to continue a dialogue with federal agencies after the conference. Leading federal construction attorneys will address executive orders, Small Business Administration and Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and case law trends your company needs to know to work in the federal market. And, when the conference concludes, AGC member attendees will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing meetings with agency headquarters later in the year.
Federal Government

Early in January, the Infrastructure Working Group – led by AGC and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) – urged House and Senate leadership to take action on an infrastructure bill in 2018.

On Jan. 10, the Problem Solvers Caucus – a bipartisan group of 48 House members – released their infrastructure report detailing policy suggestions for a future infrastructure plan. AGC and other infrastructure stakeholders consulted with these members of Congress, offering funding recommendations and policy prescriptions for inclusion in the plan.

On Dec. 21, the House of Representatives voted 251-169 for AGC-supported legislation – the Emergency Disaster Aid Package – which provides $81.2 billion in emergency funding for Hurricane and wildfire relief in Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It remains uncertain whether or not the Senate will vote on its version of the bill; however, senators from impacted states are strongly advocating for the bill.
Legislation Heads to President's Desk for Signature

In December, President Trump signed into law the Republican tax reform bill, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For a full accounting of the tax reform bill and its impact on provisions important to the construction industry, please consult this comparison chart. During the conference negotiations between the House and Senate, AGC outlined the construction industry’s priorities for tax reform.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, announced on Jan. 2 that he will not seek re-election in November. Rather than focusing on a re-election campaign, he said that he will dedicate his remaining year in office to working with President Trump to pass a major infrastructure investment plan. Chairman Shuster met with the president on Dec. 11 to discuss a strategy for passing an infrastructure proposal. During his chairmanship, the Committee helped enact into law two major transportation bills—MAP-21 and the FAST Act—as well as two Water Resources Development Acts—WRDA 2014 and the WIIN ACT 2016—collectively authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars in federal infrastructure investment.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319.

Federal Agencies
Bill Encourages Transparency

On Jan. 10, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives introduced an AGC-backed bill, H.R. 4754, that would require federal agencies to publically publish their change orders policies and procedures on any small business federal construction contract. The bill would provide prospective federal construction contractors with information they need to factor risk and resulting costs of delayed payment for change orders into their federal contract bids and offers. The bill originated out of a congressional hearing in which AGC members testified before the House Small Business Committee on change order delays and their impact on federal construction contractors.

On Jan. 5, AGC urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove the goal of "net conservation gain" from the Service’s Mitigation Policy and Endangered Species Act (ESA)–Compensatory Mitigation Policy, finalized in late 2016. AGC asserts that that the "improvement" goal is not supported under the ESA; the goal fails to provide a clear limit on how much mitigation is necessary and blurs the line between recommendations and requirements.
Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP

Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it was ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for individuals from El Salvador, allowing them 18 months to alter their immigration status or face deportation. AGC previously joined other construction organizations in encouraging Congress to use its authority to take legislative action and ensure TPS holders can continue to work legally in the country.

On Dec. 14, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned a highly controversial and AGC-opposed 2015 ruling in Browning-Ferris Industries and effectively returns the joint employment standard to the prior standard. AGC submitted an amicus brief with other associations supporting Browning-Ferris’s appeal of the 2015 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
AGC Compliance Resources Available to Members

On Dec. 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld OSHA’s controversial occupational exposure to crystalline silica rule, rejecting all industry challenges to the rule. Ultimately, the court’s decision means that the rule will remain in effect as written. That is why AGC has long cautioned our members to take the steps necessary to comply with the rule—utilizing AGC’s silica compliance educational resources—instead of anticipating a legal victory.
Upcoming Events

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

Naylor Association Solutions
Naylor Association Solutions
AGC News
Seventy-five percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2018 as contractors are optimistic that economic conditions will remain strong as tax rates and regulatory burdens fall, according to survey results released recently by AGC of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Despite the general optimism outlined in Expecting Growth to Continue: The 2018 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, many firms report they remain worried about workforce shortages and infrastructure funding.
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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