The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, December 11, 2015

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Building trades endorse Clinton

WASHINGTON, DC -- North America's Building Trades, the umbrella group for all the construction unions, on Dec. 3 formally endorsed Hillary Clinton's campaign for president.

"In these times of international strife and uncertainty, our nation needs a leader with the toughness, strength, intelligence and experience to successfully steer the United States through tumultuous waters," said Sean McGarvey, the organization's president. "Here at home, we trust that Secretary Clinton will always do what's best for America's working families."

The Building Trades' endorsement closely follows the release of Secretary Clinton’s infrastructure plan, Building Tomorrow’s Economy Today. The comprehensive five-year, $275 billion plan would allocate $250 billion to direct public investment and place $25 billion in a national infrastructure bank dedicated to maintaining the country's competitive advantage in the 21st century economy. The infrastructure plan, which supports an additional $225 billion in financing through the infrastructure bank, would result in up to $500 billion in critical infrastructure investments over the next five years.

"Secretary Clinton's work on behalf of Building Trades workers and their families is unquestioned," said McGarvey. "Her infrastructure plan is further proof that she understands that the state of our nation's infrastructure is a bellwether for the health of the American economy and for the economic prospects of American workers."

Clinton now has the backing of 11 unions representing 16 million workers, although the AFL-CIO has yet to endorse.

Congress OKs highway legislation

WASHINGTON (PAI)—Lawmakers agreed Dec. 1 on a 5-year $325 billion bill to authorize – but not allocate money for – highway and mass transit projects nationwide. The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, Teamsters President Jim Hoffa and Operating Engineers President James Callahan lauded the measure and urged its final OK.

But at the same time, other fiscal challenges, and opportunities for anti-worker legislation and similar Republican-originated mischief, loom. That’s because lawmakers plan to vote on a “reconciliation” bill to implement the GOP-written budget approved earlier this year, and because they must by Dec. 11 pass a money bill funding federal government agencies.

Both measures, especially reconciliation, offer opportunities for anti-worker legislation previously deep-sixed, due to Senate Democratic filibusters, in the GOP-run 114th Congress.

And President Barack Obama (D) has already told Congress that if it uses reconciliation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he’ll veto that bill.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., top Democrat on the panel that handled the highway mass-transit bill, said it’s the first long-term transportation bill in a decade, and it’s fully funded. She called it “essential for jobs, for our safety, and for our economic standing in the world.”