Summer Recess Schedule | August 3, 2013 - September 8, 2013

Congress is going on recess. And you have a valuable opportunity to meet with your legislators, develop a genuine rapport and communicate the critical issues facing the construction industry.

Your elected officials depend on you. They need to know how proposed legislation will affect the construction industry, the district and especially your company and employees.

Remember, it’s about trust. You do not have to be a member of the same political party as your legislators or agree on every issue, but if they learn to trust and respect your views, you will become an important resource on construction and business-related issues.

Take Action

Visit the ABC Grassroots Action Center 

 
It’s a good idea to seize any opportunity to meet with one of your legislators at town hall meetings or forums in the district, but you don’t have to wait for them to come to you.

Arrange a Meeting: Proactively organizing a personal meeting or company event is great way to become acquainted. Just remember:

  • Be considerate of your legislator’s schedule.
  • Be prepared by ensuring you understand the political issues, but don’t forget your personal experience is a powerful asset.
  • Follow up the meeting with a written thank you note summarizing your key points.
Plan a Site Visit: Did you know you can invite a legislator to see the industry at work and meet your employees? It’s a great way to show them how their actions impact your business and employees. Visit the ABC Action Center to find your representative and get more tips.

Key Legislation

No matter how you choose to interact with your legislators, don’t forget to encourage them to support or cosponsor legislation that is critical to ABC:

The American Job Protection Act (H.R. 903/S. 399), introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-La.), would repeal the onerous employer mandate included in Obamacare that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance.

The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 436/S. 109), introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), protects federal and federally assisted construction contracts from union-favoring project labor agreements (PLAs) mandated by government agencies and will allow merit shop contractors and their skilled employees to have a fair chance at competing to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772), introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R- Va.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), which provides strong safe harbor protections against prosecution and penalties for employers who use the E-Verify system and have acted in good faith. It also provides protection from any vicarious/subcontract liability.

Take the ABC Taxes Survey

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) last month announced a new “blank slate” process that would remove all existing tax credits and deductions to lower tax rates, while putting the burden on individual senators to defend and restore their favored preferences.

To that end, ABC would like to determine the specific tax provisions ABC members want to defend or trade for lower rates. The results of this brief survey will reflect the values and priorities of ABC’s membership with respect to tax reform and allow us to advocate accordingly. Please visit bit.ly/abctaxsurvey to respond.

ABC Immigration Talking Points

ABC supports the reform of U.S. immigration policy to facilitate a sustainable workforce for the American economy while ensuring our national security and prosperity. As the economy recovers, the construction industry will face an ever-growing shortage of craft professionals. Trained and willing American workers can fill many of these occupations, but some of our nation’s workforce needs will have to be filled by foreign workers.

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) addresses many of the key elements needed for reform. It includes a template for a new lesser-skilled temporary worker program, a mechanism for the undocumented population to earn legal status after being screened and paying a penalty, and a mandatory employment verification system for all employers.

Currently, the temporary guest worker program included in S. 744 permits the construction industry to access a maximum of 15,000 visas per year. A guest worker program that can truly succeed is one that responds to labor market demand, not artificial caps. An employer who has attempted to recruit Americans and is offering a competitive wage but cannot find willing and qualified workers should be able to access the guest worker program.

SUPPORT: Encourage members of the House of Representatives to support a bill that includes a temporary guest worker program that treats all sectors of the economy equally and does not burden the construction industry with inflexible requirements and caps, as the Senate proposal does.
  • An effective guest worker program is crucial to the success of comprehensive immigration reform. The key fatal flaw of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act was its failure to provide a legal immigration program that could respond to labor market demand in times of both high and low unemployment.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is expected to need about 1.8 million new workers by 2020. With an aging workforce, the industry must be able to legally supplement its workforce when there are not a sufficient number of willing or able American workers to continue to meet U.S. construction demand.
  • It is also important to note that an effective low skilled guest worker program is not only an economic issue, but also plays an important role in securing our border. When legal immigration vehicles are able to meet labor force demands, a truly secure border becomes a more realistic and achievable goal.

ABC Action App

Before you do anything else, download the ABC Action app to respond to Action Alerts, communicate with federal representatives on policy and regulatory issues, stay up-to-date on critical issues, see how representatives voted, track Key Votes and share information via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Tell Us

ABC wants to hear from you. Remember to contact ABC National Director of Grassroots Chris Carroll when you meet with your member of Congress or host a site visit so we can better track ABC advocacy efforts. For additional information or any questions, please contact Chris at carroll@abc.org.