LEGISLATIVE UPDATE (November 3, 2015)

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A significant focus of Congress this week is reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs.

AMAC has been actively engaged with respect to Congress’ work on a new, multiyear authorization of federal surface transportation programs or more commonly referred to as the “Highway Bill”.  As you know, the highway bill authorizes spending on federal highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research, and some rail programs.

Of particular importance and interest to AMAC members, the measure also authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program.   While both the Senate bill and the House proposals reauthorize the DBE Program, AMAC is leading the charge to ensure DOT’s size standard for DBE certification comports to that of the Small Business Administration (SBA) which is use broadly throughout the federal government for direct and federally-assisted contracting.  Current law requires the DOT to use the SBA definition regarding firm size for certification, yet, also requires the Agency to consider a gross receipts threshold roughly 35% less than the SBA standard.  This lack of consistency adversely impacts AMAC member companies and must be addressed by lawmakers.  AMAC is lobbying in support of an amendment to the pending House bill that would rectify this matter.  The amendment is sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Member of the House Transportation Committee and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).  Co-sponsors are CBC members Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jim Clyburn, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Donna Edwards, Corrine Brown and Andre Carson.  AMAC and our Washington, DC legislative counsel are close working with these members on the amendment.  Copies of talking points supporting the Cummings amendment will be posted on the AMAC website.

AMAC is also working closely the CBC and a bi-partisan group of members in opposition to a proposal that would make “veteran-owned small business concerns” eligible to pursue DBE certification.  This proposal is being pushed by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA).  Rep. Fitzpatrick is seeking to have his amendment made in order for consideration during House floor debate on the Highway Bill this week.  AMAC and its counsel have prepared talking points and other materials in opposition and they have been distributed to key Members of Congress and to Members of the House Rules Committee who will decide the floor procedure for the bill and amendments that can be offered.  Copies of the talking points against the Fitzpatrick amendment will be posted on the AMAC website.

As Congress continues its work in these important policy areas, AMAC, led by the Government Affairs Committee and the Council’s Washington, DC consultant, will continue to actively engage lawmakers and their staffs regarding AMAC priorities.  Stay tuned!  We will need your help.  We will continue to keep you apprised of emerging developments and actions that you as an AMAC member can undertake to make a difference.