1. On January 3, 2018, NECA, as a member of the Infrastructure Working Group, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take swift action on an infrastructure bill in 2018. The letter stated that infrastructure investment must be a top priority for the 115th Congress.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The goals of the Infrastructure Working Group identified several major goals for a larger investment bill:
Increasing direct federal investments, in a broad range of infrastructure sectors over 10 years to achieve a $1 trillion investment;
Complementing and strengthening existing tools, such as municipal bonds, that successfully deliver infrastructure investments at the federal, state and local levels;
Facilitating opportunities for private investment in U.S. infrastructure;
Creating efficiencies such as accelerating the federal permitting process;
Fixing chronic challenges and addressing reoccurring shortages in key federal infrastructure accounts such as the Highway Trust Fund; and
Encouraging active participation among all levels of government and between the public and private sectors without shifting federal responsibilities because no single partner can deliver a well-functioning, national U.S. infrastructure network driven by a long-term vision and funding stability.
NECA will continue its participation with the Infrastructure Working Group as well as our other coalition partners to ensure that Congress and the Trump Administration fulfill their promise of passing a comprehensive infrastructure package in 2018.
2. Earlier this week, the Department of Labor (DOL) offered a proposed rule to allow greater acceptance for associations under ERISA to offer association health plans across state lines. This proposed rule comes on the heels of the executive order issued by the Trump administration in October of last year, urging federal agencies to loosen the restrictions placed on associations who wish to offer insurance plans across state lines.
NECA’s Look Ahead: While NECA already proactively offers many of our healthcare plans, to the best of our ability, across state lines, the opening of restrictions and alleviation of onerous regulations is a welcome change of pace. NECA will solicit member and chapter feedback and send comments to the DOL accordingly.
3. On January 9, 2018, Representatives Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) held a brief press event to announce their upcoming introduction of the long awaited, Growing Retirement Options for Workers (GROW) Act. Sponsored by numerous contractor associations and North America’s Building Trades Union, the GROW Act allows for the creation of multiemployer pension composite plans.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA strongly supports the introduction of the GROW Act and the creation of composite plans. The dynamic design of these plans ensures their survival through drastic economic downturns in addition to alleviating the financial burden of crippling withdrawal liability.