Constructor - May/June 2017 - 11
Constants in a Time of Change
AS EVEN A CASUAL observer of the news can pick up, it is a turbulent time in Washington,
BY STEPHEN E. SANDHERR
AGC has already
been hard at work
presenting the new
plans to improve
workforce and cut
@Constr uctor Ma g
D.C. We have a new presidential administration that is in almost violent opposition to the
status quo. As President Trump and his team look to pull back the regulatory state, improve
the tax code and boost infrastructure funding, they are learning that in Washington, wanting change is a lot easier than achieving it. The best example of that being the failed effort
to reform health care.
Despite a few early successes and the high-profile failure to repeal and replace "Obamacare,"
it is still too early to tell whether President Trump and Congress will be able to achieve their
economic and regulatory goals. But we can be certain that many special interest groups will
be working hard to block their efforts. Professional fundraisers are making a killing dialing
for dollars to finance campaigns to protect the costly, and often needless, new regulatory
burdens the last administration put in place.
In other words, things are going to get even more turbulent in Washington. But one constant
will be our work fighting on behalf of common sense reforms to help our economy grow and
our members thrive. AGC has already been hard at work presenting the new administration
with comprehensive plans to improve our infrastructure, redevelop our workforce and cut
needless regulations. And we are prepared to help the administration as it slogs through
the incredibly difficult task of paring back existing regulations.
We have already scored a number of significant victories. We successfully lobbied to have
Congress repeal two Obama-era regulations, their so-called "Blacklisting" rule and another
one called the "Volks" rule. The former would have opened the door to punishing federal
contractors for their political or personal beliefs. The latter was an unvarnished attempt to
usurp Congress and the courts and establish a new, longer statute of limitations for citing
firms with recordkeeping mistakes.
But there is a lot more work yet to be done. The Obama administration, especially in its
final months, put forward dozens of new regulations, many of which either failed to fix the
problems they were intended to address, or worse, fixed problems that don't actually exist.
And all of them added new and significant compliance costs to firms already coping with
rising labor costs and health care costs. The process for repealing the rules is essentially
the same as crafting a new regulation; it will take the government a lot of time, energy and
effort to address.
And as we saw with health care, it will be very difficult to get Congress to act on tax
reform or infrastructure funding. But you can rest assured that AGC will play a leading role
in making sure the industry's voice is heard on these two important policy issues. We will
take every possible step to make sure members of Congress and the Trump administration
appreciate our industry's unique tax challenges. And we will make sure they appreciate how
vital improving infrastructure is to our continued economic prosperity.
Of course, one of the keys to our success is the active involvement of our members in our
advocacy efforts. That includes having members reach out to their elected officials and sharing
with them their points of view. It also includes supporting our AGC Construction Advocacy
Fund. After all, our association is only as strong as our members are involved.
Make no mistake, the next few months in Washington will be loud, ugly and frustrating.
But sausage making is never pretty and our objective is to make sure at the end of the day,
D.C. officials are taking steps to help our economy grow and our members succeed. With
your help and support, we will do just that.
MA Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 | www.constructormagazine.com 11