1. House Approves NECA-Supported Change Order Legislation
On May 8, 2018, the House, by unanimous voice vote, passed H.R. 4754, the Change Order Transparency for Federal Contractors Act. This bill was Introduced by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), and Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL). If enacted, this bill will bring greater transparency to agencies’ policies and procedures regarding payment practices and contract change orders. These reforms will aid small businesses by increasing their ability to make informed decisions thereby reducing risk and exposure during bidding and the completion of federally contracted work.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA has been involved in the development process of this bill and is urging for its swift passage into law. This legislation is the first of many fixes for our contracting community, which is burdened with risk when competing for federally contracted work. Work now continues on the legislation as we will push for swift adoption in the Senate.
2. House to Vote on President Trump Spending Cuts
On May 8, 2018, President Trump officially sent a $15.4 billion rescissions requestto Congress. The “rescission” is a Congressional budget process of requesting back money that was previously authorized. This process was established under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Congress has 45 days to vote on the plan, or a scaled-back version of it, through a simple majority vote in both the House and the Senate. The bulk of the package would come from two expired accounts (meaning the money within them is not expected to be withdrawn under the program’s current authorization) within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Additionally, cuts would come from accounts created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to test innovative payment and service delivery models. The package will likely pass the House; however, no Democratic support is likely in the Senate. Some moderate Senate Republicans have also indicated that they will not support the package.
3. Senate Plans to Move on Water Resources Bill
The Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) announced that the committee plans to mark up the WRDA Bill,S. 2800, A bill to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes by the end of May.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This NECA supported bill follows the Congressional tradition of passing a major water package every other year. This Water Resources bill will give the Army Corps of Engineers the authorization to move forward on several critical projects. NECA will continue to advocate for the swift passage of this bill.