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Politics and Policy
On Nov. 29, President Trump delivered a strong defense of reducing the tax burden on businesses of all sizes in his “Bring Back Main Street” Speech in St. Charles, Mo. He urged Congress to push tax reform across the finish line as the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this week.
On Nov. 28, The Senate Budget Committee voted to advance S.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on a party line vote of 11-10. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) voted to send the bill to the Senate floor after originally withholding their support.
The not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in October, down 1.2 percent from a year ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. It was the lowest October rate on record, matching the rate in 2006, according to analysis by ABC. Further, the construction industry employed 180,000 more workers than in October 2016.
The private construction industry’s value added as a percentage of the nation’s real gross domestic product rose to 4 percent in 2016, the highest level since 2009, according to ABC. The report also shows annual growth in real construction spending, which rose 3.5 percent in 2016. Thirty-seven states benefited from the rise in construction activity in their state, while 13 states experienced a reduction in activity.
On Nov. 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it has extended the compliance date for the electronic reporting provisions of its Electronic Injury Reporting and Anti-Retaliation final rule (also known as Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses) to Dec. 15. This is a two-week extension from the Dec. 1 compliance date in the proposed rule. The final rule regarding the delay of the compliance date will be published in the Federal Register on Nov. 24.
On Nov. 28, ABC will offer the webinar “DOL Training on Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors” at 2 p.m. EDT. The webinar will cover the Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors final rule issued by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) on Sept. 30, 2016, which implements President Obama’s E.O. 13706.
ABC congratulates Justin Baker, executive vice president of Gaylor Electric in Mooresville, N.C., for being named ABC's Young Professional of the Year. Baker accepted the award Nov. 8 during ABC's Leadership Week Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Construction input prices remained unchanged on a monthly basis in October, according to analysis of today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics release by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Overall construction input prices have expanded 4.3 percent year over year, while nonresidential input prices have expanded 4.1 percent since October 2016. Crude petroleum prices rose 6.6 percent for the month and are up 7.7 percent for the year. No other input manifested significant price growth in October.
On Nov. 13, the U.S. Senate began the first day of an expected four-day process to amend and approve their version of tax reform legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on their version of the bill on Thursday, Nov. 15. If both chambers pass their respective bills, conferees will be designated to negotiate an agreement between the House and Senate versions, which currently include a number of significant differences.
On Nov. 13, ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman participated in the first meeting of the U.S. Department of Labor’s task force on apprenticeship expansion. Timed to coincide with the first day of National Apprenticeship Week, the task force is responsible for identifying strategies and proposals to expand and promote apprenticeship opportunities.
The ABC student chapter at the University of Cincinnati was named the 2017 Student Chapter of the Year for its accomplishments in programming, community service, communications and public relations and interaction with its sponsor, the ABC Ohio Valley Chapter, during the academic year. Colorado State University, sponsored by the ABC Rocky Mountain Chapter, was named the Construction Management Competition (CMC) overall winner of 2017.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming ABC webinars on federal regulations and policies that impact the construction industry.
On Nov. 7, ABC joined Associated General Contractors, the Leading Builders of America and the National Association of Home Builders in a letter to Congressional leaders expressing the construction industry’s concerns regarding the upcoming decisions related to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras. The letter urged Congress to take legislative action to ensure that TPS holders can remain and continue to work legally in this country.
Operating in 37 states and annually engaging 9,000 high school students, ACE Mentor Program relies on construction managers, architects, engineers and even accountants and marketing experts to inspire students to pursue careers in design and construction.
On Nov. 9, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule, Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Certification Extension, which delays its deadline for employers to ensure that crane operators are certified by one year, from Nov. 10, 2017, to Nov. 10, 2018. OSHA is also delaying its employer duty to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely for the same one-year period.
.ABC tanked House Republicans for working diligently with the White House to get a long-overdue tax reform bill off the ground and begin the legislative process. Our members will feel the direct positive impact of this bill with another dollar in their paychecks, allowing them to create jobs and drive growth.
On Nov. 6, three federal agencies issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to withdraw the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule —“blacklisting”— and President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13673. Additionally, the Department of Labor withdrew the corresponding guidance document.
ABC praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441) this week with bipartisan support. ABC joined forces with a wide range of business advocacy groups, including the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and the Coalition to Save Local Businesses, to build support for the ultimate passage of H.R. 3441.
During its Nov. 7 meeting in Orlando, the ABC Board of Directors elected George Nash to serve as the association's 2018 national chair. Tony Rader was elected to serve as ABC’s 2018 chair-elect. ABC’s 2018 Executive Committee takes office on Jan. 1, 2018.
A new study from the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) for Public Policy Research shows the economy and the construction industry would benefit if Congress passed the Public Building Renewal Act (PBRA).
The Waters Advocacy Coalition, which ABC is a member of, recently launched a website to educate the public on the impact on America’s job creators under the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 2015 final Clean Water Rule. The rule would expand the definition of “the waters of the United States."
Any additional dollar that can stay in a construction company's cash flow can be invested in hiring and retaining talented workers. That was one of the messages ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman conveyed this week during two live Fox Business Network appearances, as the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled a bill that reforms the tax code.
ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman joined President Donald Trump and other business leaders at the White House Tuesday to discuss their support for tax reform legislation. At the meeting, President Trump outlined the necessity for tax reform, and thanked the organizations present for supporting the unified tax framework.
On Oct. 27, President Trump nominated Scott Mugno for Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S. Department of Labor. Mugno currently serves as the vice president for safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance at FedEx Ground and previously worked as managing director of FedEx Express corporate safety, health and fire protection.