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Mission: With over 33,000 member firms, AGC of America is the leading association for the construction industry.* This organization profile has been set up by POPVOX.
September 16, 2013
Dear Chairmen Shuster and Gibbs and Ranking Members Rahall and Bishop,
On behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America (“AGC”), I commend you for your bipartisan efforts to address our nation’s aging navigational system of inland waterways, coastal harbors and ports, locks and dams, and flood control protections and your commitment to restore critical environmental areas of our country. The markup of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2013 (“WRRDA bill”), represents a positive step forward towards making long-desired, critical water resources infrastructure projects a reality. AGC supports H.R. 3080 and urges members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to vote for its passage at the markup.
The benefit of adequately investing in America’s water resources infrastructure speaks for itself. In 2010, our inland waterway system carried over 556 million tons of freight valued at more than $180 billion. The average cost savings of $11 per ton compared with other modes of transportation means the efficiency of waterway transportation saved the nation $6.2 billion in transportation costs in 2010 alone. Investments in flood control projects have prevented an estimated $22.3 billion in average annual damages from coastal and river-line flooding. These projects have prevented an estimated $706 billion in flooding damages in the last 25 years.
This bill would help America more quickly realize the benefits of water resources projects in a fiscally responsible manner. Under this bill, the project authorization process will authorize congressionally-selected, high-priority project investments while deauthorizing non-priority projects, which allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to better focus on its mission. It helps ensure that pre-construction studies are limited to three years rather than the 10 to 15 years or more under existing policy. In addition, further leveraging government funds for water infrastructure projects through the bill’s innovative financing pilot project program can help our nation meet its infrastructure improvement needs. Lastly, we appreciate this bill’s commitment to help ensure that the nation’s federally-maintained harbor and port navigation channels are fully maintained by expending more Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund revenues for their authorized and intended purpose than currently spent.
This WRRDA bill provides a constructive foundation for the passage of a comprehensive water resources measure, which AGC will urge all Members of Congress to support. Thank you again for working in a bipartisan manner and crafting this WRRDA bill.
July 16, 2013
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The employer community has long had significant concerns with the employer mandate provision enacted three years ago by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) because it reduces job opportunities, hours worked, and therefore overall wages. With the statutory effective date of the employer mandate on the horizon and the recent acknowledgement by the Administration that the necessary systems and reporting requirements are not ready, we strongly support H.R. 2667, the “Authority for Mandate Delay Act,” which would provide a legislative one-year delay of the employer mandate provision.
The undersigned groups represent job creators from every industry, sector, size and location. While our member manufacturers, restaurants, small companies, the self-employed, retailers, contractors, wholesaler-distributors, staffing agencies, equipment rental companies and large businesses have provided employer-sponsored health care coverage to many employees for years, most importantly they have provided individuals with jobs and wages to support themselves and their families.
In light of the Administration’s recent decision to delay the enforcement of the employer mandate penalties and reporting requirements, it is vital that Congress take legislative action to clearly and directly delay this “shared responsibility” provision in the health care law. Beginning in January 2014, the PPACA requires businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide prescribed health benefits to their employees (and their dependents) or potentially pay steep penalties. Already this requirement is forcing many businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees to scrap growth and expansion plans and forego hiring more full-time employees. Additionally, for the first time in history, the law defines “full-time” employment status as 30 hours per week, instead of the traditional 40 hours per week. On top of the mandate to provide coverage, this new definition is forcing businesses to restructure their workforce and reduce their employees’ hours to avoid costs that could potentially bankrupt their companies. All of these outcomes negatively impact those at the lowest rungs of the income scale.
Legislatively delaying the employer mandate will ease these concerns in the short term and is necessary to provide businesses clarity about their legal obligations for the future. With the delay, a careful and pragmatic assessment of the mandate must follow to assess how to create better policies that do not turn our country into a nation of part-time workers. Particularly now, Congress must enact this legislation to remove the obstacles to hiring employees and enable more individuals to secure full-time employment and full-time wages to strengthen the country’s economy.
(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)
“The Associated General Contractors of America has long advocated for immigration reform that strengthens national security and functions efficiently and fairly, while also addressing future workforce needs. [The Legal Workforce Act] is a balanced approach to one part of this complex problem.”
Beginning January 1, 2013, federal, state, and local governments will withhold 3% from each and every payment to contractors for goods and services. This withholding does not just apply to construction contacts, it applies to all contracts.
This requirement applies to all government entities with total budgets of at least $100 million; and
Construction contractors are not alone. This affects payments for all goods and services under government contracts, as well as payments to any person for a service or product provided to a government entity, even Medicare and certain grants.
AGC is working with coalition partners toward full repeal of the 3% withholding requirement.
AGC strongly supports free, open, and competitive bidding for all federal and federally-funded work – among all qualified firms, without regard to their lawful labor policies. Government-mandated PLAs effectively compel both union and open shop contractors to alter their hiring practices, work rules, job assignments, and benefits in order to compete for or to perform work on publicly funded projects. This not only constitutes inappropriate government interference with private labor relations, it amounts to an unfair government preference that can significantly impact the cost of public works.
AGC supports H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, which amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal a provision (added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that extends to corporations that are not tax-exempt the requirement to report payments of $600 or more.