Legislative News

Washington Report: The 2021 Annual Cement and Concrete Fly-In

Due to pandemic restrictions, this year’s Fly-In was virtual. We traded dashing around Capitol Hill for signing in and out of Zoom and Go-To meetings and calls.

Washington Report: A New Year, a New Administration

January marked the beginning of the New Year, the 117th Congress, and the Biden-Harris Administration. While there have already been many changes with these new starts, the growing challenges of living with the coronavirus is not one of them, unfortunately. COVID-19 continues to drive government activity at all levels across the country. With 500,000 dead expected by the end of February, meeting public health needs is paramount. Vaccine distribution is the bright light at the very long tunnel. However, social distancing requirements necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 continue to negatively affect our economy and our citizens.

Washington Report: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As we prepare to leave 2020, the view in the rearview mirror is cloudy. By all measures, this has been a tough year. The upheaval to our way of life caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic—particularly the heavy cost to hundreds of thousands American families who lost loved ones—will continue through 2021. The medical community’s predictions of increasing infections and deaths are coming true. Dr. Fauci now says we may reach 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths by March 2021. Mitigation measures needed to limit the virus’s spread will continue to disrupt the economy. While it is hard to foresee recovery when still facing such hard times, the remarkable success seen in developing and approving a number of vaccines is a true bright spot. While it will take months to vaccinate enough Americans to create effective herd immunity and allow our society to start the recovery process, we can see the end from here.

Washington Report: What Else Will 2020 Bring?

When thinking about what to write for this issue, I kept coming back to, “What’s coming next?” This has been a tough year, with waves of major disruptors. Business needs certainty to plan for a strong future, and the country needs stability to support its citizens in their communities. The American people need stability and certainty to create a fruitful future for their families. Yet this year lacks both certainty and stability.

Washington Report: Crisis and the Construction Industry

While the country continues to be consumed by the historic crises facing our nation—the coronavirus pandemic public health threat, the economic downturn created by the pandemic’s mitigation measures and the nationwide protests calling for racial equality—Washington works on each of these issues. Congress is expected to pass more COVID legislation this month, and the administration continues to implement the trillions of dollars of programmatic funding Congress passed in March and April. Of great interest to the ACPA is recent activity in both the House and Senate on infrastructure programs. We’ll touch on the pandemic economic issues and the legislative movement on infrastructure.

Washington Report: COVID-19 and the CARES Act

The novel coronavirus plaguing the world has generated an unprecedented response in its scope, size, and speed within Washington. Between March 6 and March 27, Congress passed, and the president signed, three laws to provide relief directly to individuals, businesses and local governments with a total price tag over $2.3 trillion. On March 13, President Trump declared a national state of emergency, which opened up to $50 billion in additional funding and regulatory waivers needed to allow swift government action. Many states have requested and received “major” emergency declarations from the White House, releasing even more resources and regulatory relief.

Washington Report: Passing the Baton

As this decade ends, ACPA’s Washington representation has changed. ACPA’s long-time lead advocate, Craig Piercy, has left Bose Public Affairs Group to lead the American Nuclear Society. Patty Power, who started working on ACPA issues nearly four years ago, has taken the mantle from Craig. She started her career in Washington immediately after graduating law school over 35 years ago, and worked on Capitol Hill and in the Administration before launching her career as an advocate. While working closely with Craig over the past few years, Patty has led on ACPA’s interface with North American Concrete Alliance (NACA), dealing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on hours of service issues, the Concrete Pump Tax Fairness Act, and lobbying Congress on infrastructure-related issues. The transition will be seamless, even though we will miss Craig!

A Farewell from Craig Piercy, ACPA Washington Advocate

After almost 15 years as the association’s Washington advocate, Craig Piercy is stepping down to take a new position.

Washington Report: Policymaking Admidst a Firestorm

Unless you are just returning from a one-month expedition to Antarctica, you know that Washington is in a Category 5 political firestorm over President Trump’s withholding of military assistance to Ukraine in exchange for acquiring damaging political information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Events are moving fast. What I write now will probably be overtaken by events before you read it. Without rehashing the facts of the case, it certainly seems at this juncture that we are headed for impeachment proceedings in the House and some form of trial in the Senate.

Washington Report: The Coming Debate About Concrete and Climate Change

The second of two Democratic presidential candidate debates in June will be best remembered for Senator Kamala Harris’s “leg-sweep” of Joe Biden over his opposition to school busing in the 1970s. However, it was an exchange between moderator Rachel Maddow and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper later in the evening which made my ears perk up.