What Is In Store for NASBP on Capitol Hill for the 115th Congress?
Over the past several years, NASBP has enjoyed a great deal of legislative success on Capitol Hill, such as reforming rules to require individual sureties to post real assets to support their bonds on federal construction contracts and significant enhancements to the Small Business Administration’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program to provide greater opportunities for small businesses and sureties. So what can NASBP members look for in the 115th Congress as members of Congress and President-elect Trump are sworn into office?
Federal Infrastructure Plan
First of all, there has been a great deal of news surrounding the possibility of a $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill that may be introduced early in the Trump Administration. While the details of the proposal still remain unclear, one thing is certain: NASBP will be vocal in calling for surety bonds to be included on any infrastructure spending package. Trump advisers have offered several different ideas, such as the possibility of creating an infrastructure bank, tax credits for private developers, and the creation of public-private partnerships (P3s) as a means to finance such projects. However, critics of the proposal, even those within President-elect Trump’s own party, are skeptical on how to pay for such a large stimulus package and the package will not help many of the nation’s most critical infrastructure needs. There are serious questions about whether or not Trump will have the Republican votes in Congress to pass his infrastructure bill. Moreover, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to introduce his own infrastructure stimulus package when Congress convenes for its 115th Session. Could this set the stage for some negotiating and compromise between Senator Sanders and President-elect Trump? Once legislation is introduced, NASBP will notify the membership regarding its impact on surety.
Time to Make New Friends
With the retirement of some of our closest allies in Congress, which includes U.S. House of Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY-22nd), NASBP is seeking to establish new friends in Congress. While NASBP has a strong nucleus of members on Capitol Hill to work with on surety-related matters, if you were involved with a congressional campaign and or have a good working relationship with a new representative or senator from your state, please feel free to contact Larry LeClair, NASBP Director of Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org, so NASBP can get to know that office.
NASBP Coalition Partners
NASBP is part of the Construction Industry Procurement Coalition, which includes 15 national trade and professional organizations, such as the American Council of Engineering Companies, Associated General Contractors of America, American Subcontractors Association, American Institute of Architects, Design-Build Institute of America, and Surety & Fidelity Association of America. Discussions are underway to determine a potential legislative package for 2017 to address the following procurement reforms such as:
• Exempting the federal Miller Act from threshold increases every five years based upon inflation;
• Requiring payment and performance bonds on federal P3 agreements;
• Establishing minimum standards for the issuance of written change orders; and
• Establishing a federal statute of repose for federal design and construction services.
At a recent Coalition meeting, Ranking Member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee, Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 7th), and her staff were invited to become reacquainted with the issues facing the construction community. During introductions, NASBP thanked Rep. Velázquez for her previous support and brought her up to speed with an issue the coalition worked on over the past several years with her fellow Small Business Committee colleague, Representative Richard Hanna, concerning individual sureties. NASBP noted that the Coalition recently sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, urging the FAR Council to implement an important statutory change regarding the types of assets that individual sureties can pledge to support their surety bonds on federal construction contracts but did not receive a response. The Congresswoman agreed that OFPP should respond to our request and subsequently sent her own letter. NASBP will continue to keep you informed on this important issue.
2017 NASBP Legislative Fly-in
It’s not too early to mark your calendars and begin to make plans for the 2017 NASBP Legislative Fly-in. The 2017 NASBP Legislative Fly-in will take place June 6-7 at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, located at 415 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 (directly across from the Hyatt on Capitol Hill). NASBP staff is busy planning for this year’s event to include a “NASBP Family Day” for those attendees who would like to bring their children with them to experience the workings of government first-hand. “NASBP Family Day” will take place the morning of Tuesday, June 6, which will include breakfast and site-seeing tours of important landmarks in Washington, DC. For those of you who would like to attend “NASBP Family Day,” NASBP has set aside a small number of rooms for Monday, June 5. As usual, the NASBP Legislative Fly-in will kick off the evening of Tuesday, June 6 with a welcome reception and issue briefing session. For more information, please visit the NASBP Legislative Fly-in link at http://www.nasbp.org/flyin/home.