Construction Legislative Week In Review
From the Congressional Relations Staff
April 30, 1999
Volume 4, Issue 17

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
AGC member testifies on need for increased funding for Drinking water and Wastewater

Vic Weston, President of Tri-State Road Boring, Inc. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD and Independent Agencies concerning the need to provide stable annual funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Mr. Weston informed the committee members of the extensive needs facing our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Referencing a recent Rebuild America Coalition study, Mr. Weston demonstrated the broad-based support the programs have from the American people. The appropriations mark-ups will begin next month.

AGC Member testifies on environmental streamlining and project delivery: Mitch Leslie, President of Quality Concrete Company in Billings, Montana and President of the Montana Contractors’ Association, testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure about the implementation of TEA-21’s project delivery and streamlining provisions. Mr. Leslie highlighted the necessity of environmental streamlining to realizing the goals of TEA-21. Mr. Leslie also stressed the need for Congress to address the "grandfathering" of projects that was eliminated in the EDF v. EPA case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in March. The EDF case will likely stop or at least delay many needed projects. Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) is preparing legislation that will codify EPA’s grandfather rule, which would make the EDF case irrelevant. Once the legislation is introduced, AGC members will need to put pressure on their Senators and Representative.

Gore announces Regional Haze Rule: As predicted by the New York Times, Vice President Gore announced the final regional haze rule. Although it has not been printed in the Federal Register, the rule will require states to incorporate haze control measures in their state implementation plans (SIPs). Thirty-nine states have Class I or National Park areas that will be affected. The rule requires the restoration of scenic vistas. By the year 2064, visibility must be restored in 37 national parks and 119 wilderness areas that consist of 17,076 square miles.

Democrats’ health plan could raise premiums by 6.1%: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week announced that health care legislation (S. 6) proposed by Senate Democrats could increase employer-sponsored health insurance premiums by 6.1%. In making this announcement, CBO also stated that S. 6, known as the Patients’ Bill of Rights, "would impose new requirements on the structure and operation of group health plans" and "would establish several private-sector mandates." The CBO analysis of this bill also predicted that employers would deflect premium increases by dropping health insurance entirely, reducing benefits, increasing cost-sharing with beneficiaries, or lowering wages. The lower wages, CBO predicts, would in turn reduce federal receipts from income and payroll taxes by $9.2 billion over five years and roughly $26 billion over ten years. The Patients’ Bill of Rights continues to receive strong support from President Clinton and Congressional Democrats, but it is strongly opposed by AGC. The CBO, established in 1974, serves to provide Congress with objective, nonpartisan analyses needed for fiscal policy decisions.

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