1. NECA continues to advocate for Congressional approval of the use of Composite Plans as a tool to be utilized by multiemployer plans. NECA and the rest of the construction industry is working together and there is strong support among labor and management to get this done before the end of 2016. In light of the U.S. Treasury Department’s rejection of the Central States Rescue plan, we collectively believe that this should strengthen our case for approval of Composite Plans.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA and several other construction organizations sent a joint letter to Capitol Hill calling on Congress to take action and approve Composite Plans before the end of the legislative session.
2. NECA, as a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition sent a letter opposing a resolution that would “disapprove” President Obama’s proposal for a $10.25 per barrel of oil tax. While the resolution makes many claims opposing the tax, it fails to mention that the intent of the proposal is to generate resources to stabilize and grow federal surface transportation investments. The resolution also does not reference that recurring Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfalls have caused repeated disruptions to their state’s transportation program over the past eight years.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Since 2008, Congress has approved seven pieces of legislation transferring a total $143 billion in borrowed or General Fund revenue into the Highway Trust Fund to prevent cuts in federal highway and transit investment. Over that same period, the trust fund’s permanent revenue deficit has led to 14 temporary extensions of the surface transportation programs and one short-term reauthorization bill. Lastly, the Congressional Budget Office projects the trust fund’s average annual shortfall will grow to $18 billion by 2020. While it may seem to be an additional tax burden and that the resolution is unlikely to pass the Senate, the per barrel oil tax could serve as a real and permanent solution.
3. The House appears to be considering another short-term extension funding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), once again opening the door to the possibility of a limited tax extenders for renewables package to be added to the bill once it is sent to the Senate. Back in April there were heavy negotiations over the possible inclusion of several NECA-supported tax extenders for small wind and other renewable energy resources. In the end, that version of the bill took too many political hits from conservative groups and a clean extension was approved.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Should the House send a short term bill back to the Senate, key Senators supporting an extender package will definitely move to get them added once again. NECA will continue to monitor this situation as the bill progresses through Congress.