Federal Contractor Report
August 2018
Federal Government
Congress Passes the National Defense Authorization Act

On August 1, the Senate passed the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 87-10, sending the defense bill to the president to sign into law. The bill includes the AGC-backed bipartisan legislation requiring federal agencies to publish their change order policy and procedures on any small federal construction contract (see Sec. 855 of conference report). This legislation provides prospective federal construction contractors with the information they need to factor into their bids and offers the risk and resulting cost of delayed payment for change. Once signed into law, the changes will need to go through the rulemaking processes.
Many Construction Accounts Would See Increased Funding Levels

Prior to leaving for a two-week recess, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a package containing funding for federal programs impacting highway and transit as well as drinking water and waste water construction projects, among other things. House and Senate leaders intend to finalize funding for these programs and send a bill to the president for signature prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
Urge Congress to Take Action on Infrastructure

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) released a Republican "discussion draft" for addressing the nation's infrastructure needs and, in particular, fixing the long term health of the Highway Trust Fund. Some of the ideas have come from existing proposals from the administration's infrastructure plan as well as members of Congress from both parties. Many of the plan’s elements have long-been supported by AGC. To help build support for the Shuster plan, please contact your Representative and ask them to support Chairman Shuster’s effort and act on an infrastructure bill.
Discusses Funding Options for the Highway Trust Fund

In this edition of the ConstructorCast, Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) provides information on what the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will be working on for the rest of the year. Graves explains the funding issue with the Highway Trust Fund and possible solutions.
Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP
New Opportunities for Employers

On July 31, the president signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act into law. This bill reauthorizes the Perkins Act, which provides over $1 billion to the states to fund career and technical education for secondary and post-secondary programs. Among the law’s changes are the relationships between the states and Department of Education and how educators consult with stakeholders, such as employers.

The U.S. Department of Labor has published a final rule rescinding the controversial "Persuader Rule" issued under Pres. Obama. This is a victory for AGC and others who opposed the regulation and urged the Trump administration to rescind it.
Apply for AGC’s Diversity & Inclusion Awards by October 15

AGC of America is now accepting applications for its 2019 AGC Diversity & Inclusion Awards program. AGC will present a total of six awards in three award categories: 1) Diverse Business of the Year, 2) Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Awards, and 3) Chapter Diversity & Inclusion Award. These awards seek to raise awareness of the value that a diverse workforce and inclusive environment brings to a company by spotlighting diversity and inclusion champions within AGC. By recognizing these diversity and inclusion champions, AGC hopes to inspire other AGC member-companies to engage in activities that will promote diversity and inclusion both within the Association and the industry. AGC member companies and chapters in good standing who meet the competition requirements are encouraged to apply online for some much-deserved recognition. Apply by October 15, 2018. Learn more about AGC of America’s Diversity & Inclusion Awards program at www.agc.org/diversityawards. For more information, contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org or (703) 837-5376.
In July, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed streamlining updates to multiple sections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In addition, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is considering an AGC-supported discussion draft of a new bill to amend the Act. AGC is optimistic the measured reforms in the proposals and in the discussion draft of the bill could lead to greater certainty in the permitting process, without compromising the success of threatened or endangered species.

In August, Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released an important proposed regulation stemming from passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Act included a new deduction, Section 199A, which provided a 20 percent deduction off the qualified business income for most pass-through businesses, such as partnerships, S-Corporations, or LLCs, with certain restrictions. The deduction reduced the disparity between tax rates in the Act, where C-Corporations are now taxed at a 21 percent rate, while pass-through businesses are taxed at the individual rates, up to a top 37 percent marginal rate.
Would Rescind E-Submittal of OSHA Forms 300 and 301

In July, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the 2016 recordkeeping rule. This proposal would rescind a requirement that contractors with 250 or more employees electronically submit detailed information from their OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report), a requirement from which smaller contractors were already exempted.
Upcoming Events

August 16, 2018
WebEd: Laser Scanning for Building Owners & Their Teams: Contracting & Estimating Considerations
11 a.m.-12 p.m.

August 15-18, 2018
AGC IT Forum Conference
Chicago, Illinois

August 21, 2018
WebEd: The Top Benefits of Lean Construction
2-3 p.m.

September 5, 2018
WebEd: Client Surveys: Your Most Underutilized Advantage
2-3 p.m.

September 12-13, 2018
AGC Construction Environmental Conference
Crystal City, Virginia

September 25, 2018
WebEd: What Contractors Absolutely Need to Know About the New AIA A201 and ConsensusDocs Industry Standard Contracts: Stay Ahead of the Curve
2-3 p.m.

September 24-26, 2018
AGC BIMForum Conference
Las Vegas, Nevada

September 26, 2018
WebEd: Hire, Develop and Retain the Right People
2-3 p.m.

September 29-October 1, 2018
AGC Joint Contractors Conference
Washington, District Of Columbia

October 1, 2018
AGC 100 Year Centennial Celebration
3-9 p.m.
Washington, District Of Columbia

Contact your Members of Congress

Prior to the Congressional summer break, the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act was introduced in the House to fill the visa gap for year-round less-skilled and middle-skilled construction workers. Current law allows legal immigration for high tech, agriculture and seasonal worker but there is no dedicated visa for typical construction occupations. AGC views the legislation as a complement to its efforts to help address the industry’s worker shortages as well as a critical ingredient for immigration reform. Please contact your federal legislators through the AGC Legislative Action Center.
AGC News
Fuel, metals and wood product prices post double-digit annual increases despite pause in July; association officials warn that additional tariffs are likely to add to squeeze on contractors

Prices for goods and services used in construction costs were unchanged overall from June to July, but months of steep increases over the past year have squeezed the profits of contractors, whose bid prices have not matched the cost shocks, according to an analysis by AGC of America of new Labor Department data. Association officials warn that the impact of recent and threatened tariffs are likely to put contractors in further financial peril.
Construction industry’s election fund also provides the maximum contribution to support the governor’s Senate campaign

The AGC Political Action Committee, also known as the AGC PAC, announced in July that it has endorsed Rick Scott for U.S. Senate. AGC PAC officials said they are supporting the governor's campaign because of his pro-growth economic record.



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