Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Capitol Hill Update

Apr 4, 2017

CapitolDomeForSMACPACInfoPacketProject Labor Agreements under attack

SMACNA upholds the appropriate use of construction project labor agreements (PLAs) on public construction. Therefore, the Association strongly opposes the so-called “Fair and Open Contracting Act of 2017” (H.R. 1552/S. 622) as introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-15th-Fla.). Economics, not ideology, should drive PLA debates and votes in Congress.

Under government-financed PLAs, competing construction contractors and workers are solicited for PLA projects regardless of their union or nonunion status, as required by law. SMACNA’s position supports considering and utilizing PLAs where deemed in the best economic interest of the project owner on behalf of the taxpayer on public work. We stand in opposition to any legislation banning the use of project labor agreements on federal construction.

Smart construction management calls for the federal government, like the private sector, to consider and establish project labor agreements where necessary and appropriate for project management success.

SMACNA backs extending Energy Savings Act

On Capitol Hill, SMACNA is advocating for “The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2017” (H.R. 7230), sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16th-Ill.) and co-sponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-A.L.-Vt.), Mia Love (R-4th-Utah), and Ed Perlmutter (D-7th-Colo.).

The energy savings bill would increase both energy efficiency and jobs if Congress moves to expand the "Use of Energy and Utility Saving Performance Contracts" inside and outside the government.

Under performance contract financing, private sector service companies finance and install new energy and water efficient equipment at minimal or no upfront cost to the federal government. Federal agencies repay this investment over time with funds saved on utility costs. SMACNA’s membership from coast to coast urges the Administration to extend this program for another five years.

Residential tax credits for energy efficient property

SMACNA supports the “Technologies for Energy Security Act of 2017” (H.R 1090), introduced by Rep. Tom Reed (R-23rd-N.Y.) and nearly three dozen bipartisan co-sponsors.

This legislation amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend and modify the tax credits for residential energy efficient property and investments in other categories of energy property. It also modifies the tax credit for residential energy efficient property to extend through 2021 the credits for expenditures for fuel cell property, small wind energy property, and geothermal heat pump property.

For the current tax incentive credit and each extended credit, the bill phases out the current credit rate of 30 percent of expenditures by reducing it to 26 percent or 22 percent, depending on the date that the property is placed in service.

Streamlining energy efficiency for schools

Serious problems with school buildings and educational infrastructure are widespread throughout the nation, with 14 million students in schools needing extensive repair.

SMACNA endorses the bipartisan legislation “The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017” (H.R. 627), introduced by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-17th-Pa.) and Peter Welch along with 43 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. First introduced in the 113th Congress, this legislation passed the House unanimously last year as H.R. 756.

The bill would create a one-stop-shop clearinghouse to publicize federal programs and financing available to initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, distributed generation, and energy retrofitting projects for schools. Importantly, this legislation does not require additional spending and does not create any new federal programs.

You can take action on these bills and more by reaching out to your members of Congress through SMACNA’s Advocacy webpage.

Act now on even more hot industry topics—find them on SMACNA’s Advocacy Webpage under “Letters and Testimony.”