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On May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report with estimates on the costs and overall effect of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act. This is the third report to come from the CBO since the bill was introduced in March. If the U.S. Senate passes the bill in its current form, the CBO estimates that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 bil

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On May 22nd, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced The Opportunity in Construction Act, which aims to reform the way the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) calculates prevailing wages under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act.  Sen. Flake’s bill directs the DOL to set prevailing wages for federal and federally assisted construction projects covered by the Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts using data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

On May 23rd, the White House released the president’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year (FY18). Titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” Congress is likely to dismiss most or all of the president’s budget -- as they traditionally do with most White House wish lists, but the budget provides insight into White House policy and program priorities. 

As an industry, the construction community has the opportunity to bring the recognition of mental illness and suicide risk out in the open. Recognizing the signs, having resources for assistance available, and removing the stigma associated with mental illness are important steps we can take to prevent the risk of suicide. 

On May 15, ABC submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on costly and burdensome EPA regulations and policies. In the comment letter, ABC expressed concern that major federal projects have been unnecessarily delayed or abandoned, resulting in jobs being deferred or never created because of a dysfunctional permitting system. ABC supports a streamlined process for developers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner, which would help foster job creation and economic growth. 

Throughout Safety Week 2017, May 1-5, ABC, its members and other industry organizations came together to highlight the importance of safety on construction jobsites. On May 12, during the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) National Safety Stand-Down, construction

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), on May 4, however the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law of the land until the AHCA is passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Trump. The Senate has not taken any action on passing the current version of the bill and Senate leadership has indicated the bill will face changes before coming to the floor for a vote. 

ABC’s peer groups offer like-minded business owners an environment conducive to sharing ideas and discussing business opportunities and challenges–all with the goal of improving their businesses. Peer groups consist of six to 10 ABC member companies within a trade or interest area and with similar annual revenues. Members of the same peer group do not operate in the same competitive market, which fosters trust and an open exchange of information.

ABC recently hosted a golf tournament to benefit Folds of Honor, a charitable organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service-members. The event, held the week of May 8, just outside Washington, D.C., brought in more than $200,000 from ABC and nearly 20 member companies.

President Trump recently signed the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017, or HIRE Vets Act, which directs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program. The goal of the program is to reward employers who hire veterans and who support the veteran community.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, was introduced in the Committee on Education and the Workforce by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) on May 4. The ABC-supported legislation would provide more access to valuable career and technical education (CTE) programs and ensure these programs are aligned with in-demand jobs, including construction.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced it had renewed its partnership with ABC’s Central Texas Chapter and promoted the partnership as a success story. In an article posted to its website, OSHA highlighted a number of collaborative programs between ABC and OSHA that led to a significant safety achievement: The 2016 combined Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate for participating contractors was 50 percent below the 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) average.

The U.S. House of Representatives took steps to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by passing H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4. H.R. 1628 repeals several of the most harmful and burdensome provisions of the ACA, including the employer mandate penalty, costly tax increases and limitations on contributions to and restrictions on the use of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. ABC sent a letter in support of H.R. 1628 to the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed the House by a vote of 217-213. The bill now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.

Thornton Construction Co. Inc. of Miami, a member of ABC’s Florida East Coast Chapter, has been awarded Accredited Quality Contractor (AQC) status by ABC.The AQC program recognizes and honors construction firms that document their commitment to excellence in five key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, employee benefits, training and community relations.  A company that meets these criteria and has earned Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) Gold, Platinum or Diamond status can apply to be an Accredited Quality Contractor. 

Construction Executive is seeking input from ABC member construction firms that have built a company app geared toward internal staff or external customers. If your company has been through (or is in the midst of) the app development process, email Senior Editor Joanna Masterson, or drop CE a comment on Facebook or Twitter. CE will follow up with interview questions on why the company wanted/needed an app, how the development process worked, challenges encountered, how employees/customers have responded, etc. The article will appear in CE's September issue.

On April 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum withdrawing a letter of interpretation that stated nonunion employees can authorize an individual “affiliated with a union or a community organization” to act as their representative during agency-sanctioned inspections and other enforcement situations.

On May 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (H.R. 1180), which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector. The bill passed by a vote of 229-197.

In his first 100 days in office, President Trump took a variety of actions that impact ABC members culminating in the swearing in of U.S. Department of Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta on April 28. Read a statement by ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman praising President Trump for taking important steps to create a pro-growth business environment and a summary of those actions.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary R. Alexander Acosta was sworn in on April 28, giving President Trump a full cabinet just ahead of his 100th day in office. ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman congratulated Secretary Acosta in a statement released shortly after he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and committed to working with DOL to address the needs of the construction industry. 

First Lady Melania Trump dedicated the Bunny Mellon Healing Garden at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., marking its official grand opening on April 28. ABC member Davis Construction served as the general contractor and donated preconstruction, project management and executive leadership services, In addition, Davis did not charge a construction fee to build the space. This gift was valued in excess of $200,000.

ABC was saddened by the news that former ABC President Lawrence Hogan Sr. suffered a stroke and passed away on April 20. A man of integrity who served his country and community for many years, he will surely be missed by those who knew him.

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