Federal Contractor Report

Associated General Contractors of America

Federal Government
Action needed


On February 4, the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act was introduced  in Congress and AGC released a statement after its introduction: New “PRO Act” Will Hurt Construction Workers, Undermine Their Privacy And Make It Hard For The Economy To Recover, Official Warns. The bill is the AFL-CIO’s ambitious attempt to overturn decades of federal policy. Despite its name, the PRO Act does much more than protect an employee’s right to organize and engage in collective bargaining. In fact, the PRO Act would expand the economic weapons available to unions at the bargaining table, at the workplace, and beyond. The proposed legislation also contains provisions that are of particular concern to union contractors and those concerns were discussed in detail in an AGC analysis last year. AGC is encouraging members to tell their members of Congress to oppose this anti-worker, anti-privacy, and anti-recovery legislation by following this link.

Visit https://advocacy.agc.org/proact to view the full article online.

On February 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, a bill that would provide nearly $4 billion to expand registered apprenticeships through grants and modify the approval process for apprenticeship programs. Importantly, the bill elevates the role of registered apprenticeship, makes it a national priority, and aligns workforce programs across multiple federal agencies. However, the bill includes language that would bar access to the new grant opportunities to programs that do not partner with a labor union. AGC supports all bona fide and high-quality apprenticeship programs that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and believes they should all be eligible for grant opportunities under the bill. An amendment to clarify all registered apprenticeship programs would be eligible for grants failed despite AGC voicing support for the amendment. The legislation needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate before becoming law. There is no timeframe for Senate consideration at this time and AGC will continue to advocate for modifications of the bill.

Visit https://www.agc.org/news/2021/02/11/house-passes-apprenticeship-legislation-restrictions-programs-eligible-new-federal to view the full article online.

Federal Agencies
Attempts to overhaul cost-benefit analysis

President Biden’s “Modernizing Regulatory Review” memorandum may end up being one of the most consequential and yet underreported changes to the regulatory process. However—as AGC has reported throughout the Biden Administration—many of these orders by and large do not have immediate practical impacts and will take many months and even years before many of these orders become more detailed, final regulations. The Biden memorandum attempts to modify the regulatory cost-benefit analysis, where significant regulations must demonstrate that the benefits justify the costs. On its face the memo recommends that certain, hard to quantify, benefits begin to factor into the regulatory review process. These benefits include public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. If the memo is fully implemented, expect increased regulatory activity from federal agencies.

Visit https://www.agc.org/news/2021/02/04/president-biden%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cmodernizing-regulatory-review%E2%80%9D to view the full article online.

On Jan. 29, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new guidance on protecting workers and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Per OSHA, the guidance is not a standard or regulation, creates no new legal obligations and the recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards in the workplace.
Click here to access an analysis from AGC of America highlighting the key differences in the recent guidance in comparison to previous guidance issued. 

If you have any questions regarding the new guidance, please contact Kevin Cannon (kevin.cannon@agc.org) or Nazia Shah (nazia.shah@agc.org) in AGC of America’s safety and health services department.

Visit https://www.agc.org/news/2021/02/03/analysis-latest-us-osha-covid-19-safety-and-health-guidance to view the full article online.

Effects both Buy America and Buy American laws

On January 25, President Biden issued a “Made in America” executive order  (EO) that seeks to strengthen Buy America and Buy American laws. Some aspects of the EO are similar to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Rule issued under President Trump, which increases the domestic contents for construction materials. Among other things, this EO calls for greater scrutiny for Buy America(n) waivers issued by federal agencies, creates a public website listing the proposed waivers and their statuses, calls for a Federal Acquisition Regulations rule to amend Buy American to replace the “component test,” and directs agencies to review and make recommendations on existing Buy America(n) waivers. It is important to note that any changes to the Buy America(n) laws will need to go through the public rule making process before becoming effective.  At this time, there is no direct or sizeable impact to federal-aid highway contractors from this action. The order seeks to tighten the already strict Buy America waiver process and directs the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to review how requirements could be strengthened in the future.

Visit https://www.agc.org/news/2021/01/28/biden-issues-made-america-executive-order to view the full article online.

Educational webinar series available 


AGC and Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP are pleased to provide a five-session course on the basics of construction contracting with the federal government. This course is intended to educate companies considering entering the federal construction contracting marketplace, as well as the less-experienced professionals in construction companies already in the federal arena, about its many peculiarities and risks.  These 90-minute WebEd sessions will cover the law and practicalities of federal contracting with a view to helping construction companies learn to identify and avoid problems. You can click here to learn more and click here to purchase this course. For more information, contact jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.

Visit https://www.naylornetwork.com/ngc-fcreport/articles/index.asp?aid=661645&issueID=80179 to view the full article online.

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Visit https://www.agc.org/connect/agc-connection to view the full article online.

Newly introduced PRO Act and congressional efforts to discriminate against certain construction training programs likely to disrupt ongoing projects and undermine efforts to prepare new workers

Construction employment stagnated in January, ending eight months of recovery from the pandemic-related losses of early 2020, according to an analysis by AGC of America of government data released recently. Association officials added that new measures being considered in Congress, including the PRO Act and the National Apprenticeship Act, threaten to undermine the sector’s recovery by disrupting ongoing projects and hampering employers’ ability to train workers.

Visit https://www.agc.org/news/2021/02/05/construction-employment-stalls-january-unemployment-rate-94-percent-new-measures to view the full article online.