Construction Legislative Week In Review
From the Congressional Relations Staff
January 28, 1999
Volume 4, Issue 4

The Associated
General Contractors
of America
333 John Carlyle Street
Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-3118
(703) 837-5404 fax

Jeffrey D. Shoaf
Executive Director
Congressional Relations


Joan Huntley LaVor


Peter Loughlin
Construction Markets


Loren E. Sweatt
Procurement and

Phil Thoden
Tax & Fiscal Affairs

Patrick Wilson
Human Resources & Labor
National Poll Indicates Overwhelming Support for Infrastructure Investment

Frank Luntz, a well-known pollster, released the results of a survey showing tremendous support for infrastructure investment. The poll was conducted for the Rebuild America Coalition and concluded that infrastructure is a "quality of life" issue for voters. The survey found that 93% of Americans polled said the quality of infrastructure is important to their local communities. 69% of those polled said they are willing to pay 1% more per year in taxes for smooth streets without potholes. Furthermore, 66% said they view federal spending on infrastructure as a strong investment in Americaís future. AGC will host Luntz at the Legislative Forum and Environmental Forums of the AGC Las Vegas Convention, March 22-27, 1999.

Subcommittee to Move Paperwork Legislation: The National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee will mark up a bill designed to streamline government paperwork. The Small Business Paperwork Reduction Act Amendments of 1999, H.R. 391, would suspend fines for small businesses with first-time paperwork violations unless the violation caused serious harm, was connected to a crime, violated the tax code, or was not corrected within six months. In the case of a violation of information collection that may cause imminent or substantial harm, and at the discretion of an agency head, the violation must be remedied within 24 hours to avoid penalties. This legislation would also create a task force to study ways of streamlining government paperwork.

Elimination of Death Tax is a Priority for Senate Majority Leader Lott: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) this week cited elimination of the death tax as among his legislative priorities for this year. Lottís comment came as part of his remarks on President Clintonís proposal to use 62% of the projected budget surplus over the next 15 years (a total surplus of $4.4 billion in the estimation of the Administrationís Office of Management and Budget) to shore up Social Security. While Clinton proposes using the rest of the surplus for additional spending, Lott stated that he would like the remaining surplus to be returned to taxpayers.

Senator Bond to Introduce Independent Contractor Bill: Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, intends to introduce legislation giving business owners clear rules for determining independent contractor status. The current IRS 20-point test is complex and highly subjective, making it difficult for employers to know whether or not they have correctly classified workers. Independent contractors serve a vital function in the construction industry by providing specialized skills to businesses that utilize them. However, general contractors that use independent contractors face severe penalties, left largely to the discretion of the IRS, if they accidentally misclassify employees as independent contractors. The Bond bill is similar to legislation he sponsored in the 105th Congress.

Lott Says Senate Will Pass Managed Care Reform Bill:Trent Lott also addressed the managed care reform issues this week, stating that the issue is "not going to go away" and that "we should go ahead and face this and get it done." Lott predicted that the Senate would possibly consider health care legislation as early as May. He emphasized, however, that the Senate would not pass any legislation that allows patients to sue health plans for delayed or denied service, a major component of the Democratic Patientsí Bill of Rights. This provision is strongly opposed by AGC.

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