TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Senators to Support Counting Lower-Tier Small Businesses
This week, Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced an AGC-supported small business reform amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014, S. 1197. Please take action now and urge your U.S. Senators to support the Coons/Wicker Amendment #2286 to S. 1197.
AGC Continues to Advocate for the Construction Industry’s Priorities
On Nov. 20, select members of the House and Senate—called conferees—gathered to begin work on resolving the discrepancies between the two chambers respective Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bills in a conference committee. AGC has been active throughout the WRDA legislative process and advocated for the construction industry’s WRDA priorities in a letter to all conferees, detailing which provisions and policies in both bills should be included in a final WRDA bill.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has introduced the Water Infrastructure Investment Act with the support of senior Republicans on the water infrastructure authorizing Committees – Rep. Duncan (R-Tenn.), Rep. Whitfield (R-Ky.), Rep. Hanna (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Petri (R-Wis.). The introduction of the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Financing Act is both important and timely as we look to potentially address shortfalls in our nation’s infrastructure funding through ongoing Budget negotiations.
AGC, along with other industry allies in the construction, materials, mining, and agriculture sectors, briefed several House of Representatives staff members as part of a panel discussion focused on Clean Water Act permitting issues facing the industry.
As the conference committee on the budget continues to debate a path forward for fiscal year 2014 and possibly 2015, AGC and other transportation stakeholders continue advocate for addressing the pending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund in our outreach to the members of the House and Senate serving on the budget conference committee.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced his intention to sponsor legislation to raise the federal gasoline tax by 15 cents per gallon. The increases would be phased in over three years and would be indexed for inflation. The increase would be in place until 2024, at which time it would revert back to current levels. During this ten-year period, the intent would be to transition to a mileage-based user fee.
No public meetings are currently scheduled for the budget conference committee, but informal talks continue between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on a top-line number for a 2014 budget. There are indications that the two leaders are close to a short-term deal, as the panel seeks to come up with an accord on FY 2014 spending between the two parties’ figures of $967 billion and $1.058 trillion. The conferees will have 10 legislative days remaining when they return from Thanksgiving recess to formalize an agreement before a Dec. 13 deadline.
On Nov. 19 the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on reauthorizing the Perkins Act, the primary federal funding vehicle for career and technical education programs. The panelist highlighted that CTE programs should not be viewed as a second-tier pathway for students and explored ways for programs to actually prepare students for the workforce now and in the future.