Federal Contractor Report
August 2020
Federal Government
Since August 7, Congressional Democratic and White House leaders have failed to hold substantive negotiations on additional COVID relief legislation. On August 10, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced that the House would not hold votes again until September 14. While this does not preclude a vote before then on COVID relief legislation—as members of the House and Senate remain on a 24-hour advanced-notice of such a vote—it’s a fairly significant sign that an agreement in August is unlikely. Also, keep in mind that the Democratic and Republican National Conventions occur the last two weeks of August. This leaves Congress 13 legislative days in September to not only determine what or if it will take action on COVID relief legislation, but also to stave off a shutdown of both the federal-aid highway and transit programs and federal government agencies—as the current highway and transit authorization law (the FAST Act) and fiscal year 2020 appropriations laws expire after September 30. AGC continues to advocate for—among other things—Congress to make broad, robust and dedicated investments in infrastructure and public facilities to protect construction jobs, provide certainty to construction markets and ensure the long-term benefits construction projects bring the economy and communities can still be realized in a timely manner. For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at jimmy.christianson@agc.org.
On August 8, President Trump issued a presidential memorandum on unemployment assistance that would provide an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits to be shared between the states and federal government (25 percent and 75 percent, respectively). Previously, the CARES Act included a $600/week increase in supplemental federal unemployment benefits. Those benefits, however, expired on July 31. This presidential action would provide benefits retroactively from August 1 to December 6, 2020. Nevertheless, the action also presents a litany of legal, logistical, and implementation questions that must be resolved before could benefits flow, which would take time to unravel. AGC recognizes the importance of providing unemployment benefits during the global health crisis and encourages Congress to move toward a model that increases workforce participation—as opposed to creating high artificial barriers to such—and provides further investment in career and technical education. For more information, contact Jim Young at jim.young@agc.org.
Federal Agencies
On August 13, a federal prohibition on the use of certain telecommunications components took effect. The new Interim Final Rule (IFR), often referred to as “Section 889 Part B,” prohibits federal agencies from entering into, extending, or renewing a contract with a contractor that uses any equipment, system, or service that utilizes certain Chinese companies’ telecommunications equipment or services as a component or critical technology of any system, unless an exception applies or a waiver is granted.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released additional guidance for employers with certain federal contracts regarding paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The guidance provides compliance assistance to employers with service contracts with the federal government covered by the Service Contract Act and federal construction contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon Act.
Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released new implementation tools for the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that went into effect earlier this summer.  These tools are available online for the public to view and include educational resources, new forms, and “implementation memos” to provide greater clarity and consistency implementing the rule across the country.
Watermark Solutions
AGC News
Apply by Wednesday, October 21, 2020!
AGC of America is proud to announce the launch of the 2021 AGC Awards competitions! The Construction Risk Partners Build America Awards (including the Marvin M. Black Partnering Excellence category) and AGC in the Community competitions recognize the nation's most impressive construction projects ranging across the building, highway and transportation, utility infrastructure, and federal and heavy divisions; those contractors excelling in their partnering and collaborative endeavors; and the charitable contractors and chapters giving back to their communities.
California and New Mexico have worst one-month job losses while New York has largest increases; California and Vermont post worst yearly declines as Utah and South Dakota have largest gains
Construction employment decreased from June to July in 26 states and the District of Columbia as earlier widespread job gains gave way to more project cancellations, according to an analysis by AGC of America of government employment data released recently. Association officials said construction employment is likely to continue falling in many parts of the country without new federal recovery measures, including liability reform and new infrastructure funding.



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