2024 has started off on rocky footing, with the government funding deadline being kicked down the road yet again. As the first deadline approached without much progress, both chambers determined that the best course of action would be another Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend the funding deadline. The new funding deadlines are March 1st and 8th. Speaker Johnson agreed to a deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on top-line funding numbers of $886 billion for defense (3% increase) and $773 billion for non-defense spending (approx. 0% increase).
Recently, Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), who respectively chair the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, agreed to funding levels on the 12 appropriation bills and are now working on line-by-line funding for programs
within those agencies. A select group of House Republicans continue to try and undercut the spending caps set last year while the Senate continues relatively bipartisan work to fund the government at previously agreed-upon levels.
Tax Package Passed the House
On January 31, 2024, the House passed H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act. This bill would extend and reform crucial elements of the tax code, such as the R&D deduction, bonus depreciation, and equipment expensing. The construction industry has seen significant growth over the past few years through public and private sector investments. These investments have the potential to accelerate America’s energy production, manufacturing capacity, and new construction for decades to come. The reauthorization and extension of 100% bonus depreciation and R&D equipment expensing will allow NECA contractors to capitalize on these investments by ensuring tax stability for their businesses.
NECA sent a letter to the Hill prior to the vote, urging Members of Congress
to support the legislation. The bill passed under suspension of the rules with 357 members supporting it. The bill now moves on to the Senate. Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) of the Senate Finance Committee has yet to state his position on the package
and would rather hold their own markup of the legislation, which may delay its passage. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently commented about the effects it may have on President Biden’s reelection campaign.
$46 million for EV Chargers from the NEVI Competitive Grant Program Disbursed
The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation announced $46.5 million for 30 projects in 16 states and Washington, D.C. to boost electric vehicle (EV) charging performance, resiliency, and reliability. This round of funding will be used for:
- EV Charging Resiliency
- Community-Driven Models and Workforce Development
- EC Charging Performance and Reliability
There were a few NECA/IBEW recipients of these grants, and they can be found here.
Final Rule Mandating PLAs on Federal Construction Projects Over $35 Million Released
On January 22, 2024, the Federal Acquisition Regulation's (FAR) final rule was implemented pertaining to project labor agreements in federal construction projects over $35 million. Over the last two years, NECA has submitted multiple regulatory comments with the Construction Employers of America and with the IBEW (view the letter here) to guide the final rule. The rule includes NECA’s own comments in support of PLAs. The rule highlights NECA’s stance on how these agreements provide structure and stability to large-scale construction projects while also reducing the misclassification of construction workers as independent contractors and ensuring a level playing field for law-abiding contractors.
- H.R. 2726, the Small Business Payment for Performance Act
- Introduced in the House
- Cosponsors: 18
- H.R. 1536, the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) Act
- Introduced in the House
- Cosponsors: 13
- H.R. 4721/S. 1706, the Main Street Tax Certainty Act
Operational Fund Total
Chapter Goals Met
Upcoming Government Affairs Events
2024 Legislative Conference – May 6-9 in Washington, DC
The 2024 Legislative Conference dates have been announced! We are excited to welcome you back to DC for NECA’s annual fly-in on May 6-9, 2024. Registration will open on February 5th for all members. We hope to see you there!
2024 Political Leadership Council (PLC) Retreat – November 8-10 in Marco Island, FL
The 2024 PLC Retreat location and dates have been announced! We are excited to host you all next year in Florida the weekend following the 2024 elections. Reach out to the team if you are interested in learning more about the PLC!