State of the Union, FY22 Funding, OSHA Updates & New Executive Order
State of the Union Address
The State of the Union address that normally occurs in late January is on March 1. This date may have been chosen to buy more time for the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) which looks to be done. Thus, the BBBA’s building energy-efficiency tax incentives could be put in a tax extenders bill to renew credits and deductions. The (25C) Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit (Residential Energy-Efficiency Tax Credit) and New Energy Efficient Home Credit (45L) expired at the end of 2021, but the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (179D) is now permanent.
FY22 Funding and the Infrastructure Bill
Congress is still operating under spending bills (appropriations) for Fiscal Year 2021, which started Oct. 1, 2020, and ended Sept. 30, 2021. This has resulted in a series of Continuing Resolutions (CRs) to keep the government running until negotiators can agree on new spending levels. The current CR expires March 11 and no one knows if an agreement will be reached. The inability of negotiators to come to an agreement means that many programs in the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (aka the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework or BIF) aren’t being funded.
OSHA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Powered Industrial Trucks
In 2019, OSHA published a Request For Information (RFI) on updating its standards regarding Powered Industrial Trucks. TRIA and others in the construction industry feared that older forklifts, etc., might not meet OSHA’s updated standards which would have significant financial consequences. Construction Industry Safety Coalition comments expressed these concerns, and we also were able to discuss them with OSHA staff at an SBA roundtable. Per the OSHA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, forklifts and other powered industrial trucks that comply with earlier standards will be grandfathered in and updated standards will apply to powered industrial trucks manufactured on or after the effective date of the final rule.
Biden EO on Project Labor Agreements
The President issued “Executive Order on the Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects” on Feb. 4 and regulations will be issued. The EO applies to “large-scale construction projects” meaning a federal project where the cost to the federal government is $35 million or more. This EO goes further than EOs that encouraged PLAs by mandating them, but covers fewer projects because of the $35 million threshold. Regardless, PLAs are controversial and a letter coordinated by Associated Builders and Contractors to the President opposes the EO and was signed by 16 groups including the National Association of Home Builders.