Engineering Inc. - May/June 2007 - (Page 8)

LEGISLaTIvE aCTIon FRoM aCEC’S GovERnMEnT aFFaIRS DEPaRTMEnT THREE PERCENT WiTHHOLDiNg, ANTi-CONTRACTOR LEgiSLATiON OPPOSED; WRDA MOviNg iN SENATE ACEC Seeks Repeal of 3 Percent Withholding The House Small Business Committee is reviewing testimony by ACEC that engineering companies and other businesses will be unfairly burdened by a new 3 percent withholding mandate on all government contracts. The Council submitted testimony opposing the new withholding during a recent hearing by the committee in March. ACEC also is actively lobbying in favor of House and Senate legislation (H.R. 1023, S. 777) that would repeal this sweeping directive. This is one of the key issues that the Council’s “citizen lobbyists” will address on Capitol Hill at the Annual Convention in May. Signed into law as part of a larger tax package in 2006, the mandate requires federal, state and even some local Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) governments that procure $100 million or more in goods and services to withhold 3 percent of payments to engineering firms and other contractors beginning in 2011. “This is an issue that has generated real concern, particularly among small-business owners,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.). “I want to work closely with ACEC and other organizations to find a solution, and our hearing was an important step in that effort.” ACEC Member Fly-in Happening During Transportation Funding Crisis Congress is responding to the Council’s insistence that action is needed now to avert a pending funding crisis in the Highway Trust Fund. The House Highways and Transit Subcommittee has begun a series of hearings to examine the decades-old federal fuels tax and its ability to meet the nation’s future transportation infrastructure needs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the fund will be exhausted in 2009. Statistics show that the highway account cash balance stands at almost $8 billion for fiscal 2007, but will drop to $3.7 billion in F.Y. 2008 and will run out by F.Y. 2009.  EnGInEERInG InC. MaY / JunE 2007 ACEC is strongly advocating to Congress that all options be considered to ensure that funding for needed transportation projects continues to grow in the coming years. Alternatives that should be considered include increasing and indexing for inflation the federal fuel tax and pursuing measures to make it easier to raise private capital for road projects. SAFETEA-LU provided a guaranteed spending level of $286 billion for highways and transit over the six-year life of the bill. CBO testimony underscores that the continued depletion of cash reserves in the fund places those guaranteed spending levels in jeopardy. The future solvency of the fund is one of the key issues that ACEC members are taking to Capitol Hill at the Annual Convention, lending their collective voice at a critical time, as Congress begins to lay the groundwork for the next transportation reauthorization bill. ACEC Opposing Anti-Contractor Legislation Now in Congress A contractor “reform” bill passed by the House that would require public disclosure of confidential company data by firms working for federal agencies has drawn opposition from ACEC and other business groups. Sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the “Accountability in Contracting Act” (H.R. 1362) was passed by the House in March. The measure includes a number of problematic provisions, including language that would result in public disclosure of company audit reports that include confidential and proprietary information. The Council seeks to ensure that engineering firms are dealt with fairly in their relations with federal clients. ISSuES on THE MovE Transportation funding options House-passed anti-contractor bill Immigration & H-1B visa reform Corps project funding WHaT’S nExT Further congressional hearings in the spring Senate action expected in July House, Senate consideration anticipated in May Senate vote in May

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - May/June 2007

Table of Contents
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Ac tion
Interview with Congressman James Oberstar
Port Security
Water: Managing our Precious Commodity
Engineering Excellence Awards
“Smart” Concrete
Business Insights
Members in the News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - May/June 2007