Legislative Updates

From the monthly archives: December 2019

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'December 2019'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Mark Meadows Retiring:

 

On Thursday, North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows announced he won’t be seeking reelection in 2020, making him the 21st GOP retirement this cycle, but unlike many other GOP retirees, Meadows’s motivation for leaving Congress isn’t because he had reelection concerns, disagreements with President Trump or feared the loss of institutional clout if the GOP doesn’t retake the House in 2020. In his announcement, Meadows hinted that he might soon take a job working for the president, although it’s unclear what that role might be.

NDAA:

 

The House and Senate passed the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2020, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and other national security programs and contains several provisions that have an impact on contractors and apprenticeship programs in the United States. The legislation passed the House on Dec. 11 and the Senate on Dec. 17 and is expected to be enacted into law. Included in the conference report is a requirement that the U.S. comptroller general conduct a report on DoD contractor violations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 or the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. It also directs the comptroller general to conduct a study on the contracting practices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that specifically focuses on how the Corps complies with and enforces the Davis-Bacon Act.

USMCA & Trade Update:

  After last week’s announcement of the agreement to modify the president’s trade deal, the House moved quickly to ratify the USMCA. The House approved the deal in a vote of 385-41 on Thursday. Now the deal needs to be approved by the Senate, and the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a markup of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal on Jan. 7. ABC believes the USMCA will help to ensure certainty in the supply chain and reduce volatility in pricing for building materials from Mexico and Canada to further lift the economy, support more projects and help address the much-needed modernization of our nation’s infrastructure. ABC also believes that the USMCA will further benefit the U.S. economy, with estimates that it will add $68.2 billion to the U.S. economy and create approximately 176,000 new jobs. President Donald Trump also signed off on a phase-one trade deal with China, averting the Dec. 15 introduction of a new wave of U.S. tariffs on about $160 billion of consumer goods. ...

H2B Visas:

 

The spending package also includes language that gives DHS the discretion to release additional H-2B  and report language that states that, “USCIS is encouraged to leverage prior-year materials relating to the issuance of additional H-2B visas, to include previous temporary final rules, to improve processing efficiencies.”  

End of Year Spending and Tax Bills:

  The all-encompassing appropriations bills, split in two for domestic spending and military and national security spending, contained a host of provisions that will affect the construction industry. First, the bill extended tax provisions for the 179D deduction for energy-efficient buildings, which allows a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for the installation of energy-efficient property. Specifically, builders have to show a 50 percent reduction in the energy utilized by the building's envelope, lighting and HVAC systems; the New Markets Tax Credit, which attracts private capital into low-income communities; and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which is available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The bill also eliminated the HIT tax. A product of the controversial 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have resulted in tens of millions of Americ ...

Impeachment Update:

 

The House voted 230-197 to charge Trump with abuse of power and 229-198 to charge him with obstruction of Congress. The votes were largely split along party lines: just two Democrats voted against both articles, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who switched parties following his vote. A third, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted for one impeachment article. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted present for both articles. Following the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stirred up controversy, announcing a delay in sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, seeking more clarity on the rules for President Trump’s trial and potentially pushing the proceedings well into the new year.