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October 17th, 2019 
Volume 21, No. 42


This Week in Congress

Congress returned from its two-week recess and although both chambers were expected to take up bipartisan proposals against President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, a Monday night executive order may change the calculation.  The House voted this week on a bill, sponsored by Rep. Axne (D-IA) to require public companies to disclose annually the total number of workers employed in each state and foreign country, as well as the percentage change from the previous year.  Also, the House voted on a financial services bill that would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to test its rules on disclosures by brokers to retail investors.  The Senate continued with nomination votes.

FY20 Funding Bills

It is still unclear how the House and Senate appropriations committees will move forward with the FY20 bills.  The House has passed 10 of their 12 bills, but no bills have passed the Senate. Senate Appropriations Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Leahy continue to urge Majority Leader McConnell to combine a number of the smaller, less controversial bills, into minibuses for floor action.  Senator Shelby met with the President in September to devise a plan to move the bills forward.  Shelby stated: “We told him that we would like to go forward with some of our bills, some of them that we brought out of the committee and see where we are and let the process work.”

Are You Working To Engage Young People in the Trades?  Tell ASA About It!

We want to hear from you!  Tell us how you are working to engage young people and new employees in the trades.  Are you working with programs like Helmets to Hardhats?  Does your company have a partnership with a local community college, university or apprenticeship program??  How do you connect with your local community?

The American Subcontractors Association is currently working to gather all of your amazing ideas to be able to share with other ASA chapters around the country.  Let us know how you reach out to young, new talent, as well as your best practices in each initiative.

Have something exciting to share?  Email us your ideas at  We can't wait to hear from you!

Department of Defense Pending Rule Updating DFARS with 15-Day Prompt Pay Rules

On Friday, May 31, 2019, the Department of Defense (DOD) published a proposed rule to reinforce that the department’s policy is to issue payment to contractors as expediently as possible upon receiving an invoice and proper documentation that the work has been completed. The proposed rule seeks to revise the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFARS) to implement section 852 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019. Section 852 provides for accelerated payments to small business contractors and to small business subcontractors by accelerating payments to their prime contractors. The section specifically states that the DOD’s goal is to issue payment to small business contractors 15 days after receipt of a proper invoice if a specific payment date is not established in the contract. 
The proposed rule received comments through Tuesday, July 30, 2019 and the ASA Government Relations Team will provide an update as soon as the DOD publishes their final rule. 

Sanctions Against Turkey

Members of the House and Senate are considering legislative action to impose heavy sanctions against Turkey for their military actions in northern Syria.  House Speaker Pelosi backed a bill, introduced by Foreign Affairs Committee leaders Reps. Engel (D-NY) and McCaul (R-TX). In the Senate, Sens. Graham (R-SC) and Van Hollen (D-MD) are working on a bill, but no legislation has been released at this time, and on Monday Sen. Graham appeared to back off from proposing legislative action and stated: "it would be wise to allow the Administration an opportunity to meet with Turkey and other interested parties to find a solution.”  

The White House announced its own sanctions, but they did not go as far as members of Congress wanted.  Additionally, members of Congress are talking about the need for a bicameral joint resolution seeking to reverse President Trump's order to withdraw U.S. Special Forces from northern Syria and to show support for Kurdish allies.  Senate action is dependent on Majority Leader McConnell, who hasn't stated his position on the legislation.

Help Defend Our Future by Supporting the Subcontractors Legal Defense Fund

ASA underwrites the legal costs of filing "friend-of-the-court" briefs to inform the Court regarding the broader impact of relevant cases throughout the country. We have won dozens of these cases since 1997, vindicating subcontractor rights today and into the future!

Each year, courts across the country hand down hundreds of decisions on federal and state laws, as well as court-made or "case"law, that apply to subcontractors' businesses. Many of the decisions impacting subcontractors interpret the contract provisions of subcontract agreements—provisions like pay-if-paid, hold harmless, duty-to-defend, and no-damages-for-delay. Some of these decisions are precedent-setting and carry significance for subcontractors across state lines.

ASA's Subcontractors Legal Defense Fund supports ASA's critical legal activities in precedent-setting cases to protect the interests of all subcontractors. ASA taps the SLDF to fund amicus curiae, or  friend-of-the-court," briefs in appellate-level cases that would have a significant impact on subcontractor rights.

Impeachment Update

This week House investigators heard more testimony from Trump administration officials as part of the impeachment probe.  The House will hear from Michael McKinley, who was an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo until McKinley resigned last week.  As the Trump administration has blocked officials from testifying or handing over documents, the Committees began issuing subpoenas.  On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testified under subpoena.  Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, spoke to members of Congress on Thursday.  The meetings are being held in closed door sessions by the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees.   

China Trade Deal

The U.S. agreed not to increase tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese products, which would have taken effect on Monday. In exchange, China agreed to lift retaliatory duties on U.S. farm goods and scale up its agricultural purchases to between $40 billion and $50 billion per year, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday. Currently, sizable tariffs remain between the two nations; the U.S. has not decided whether to suspend another wave of duties set to take effect in December and China has yet to agree to any structural policy changes at the heart of the trade dispute.  

Apply Today for ASA Awards

Applications are now being accepted for many of the awards offered by ASA.  

The ASA Certificate of Excellence in Ethics recognizes subcontractors for their commitment to ASA values, such quality construction and a safe and healthy work environment. Each applicant is required to respond to questions concerning the firm’s corporate ethics policies and procedures, its construction practices, and its general business practices. Each applicant also is required to submit detailed documentation, including sealed letters of recommendation from a customer, a competitor, and a supplier.

The ASA National Construction Best Practices Awards recognize prime contractors that exemplify the values of subcontractors, treat subcontractors fairly through use of level-playing-field contract terms, and consider subcontractors part of their core project teams. The program’s rigorous criteria include the use of a standard subcontract whose provisions substantially reflect the best practices incorporated into the ASA-endorsed ConsensusDocs 750 Standard Agreement Between Constructor and Subcontractor, as well as highly favorable evaluations from three specialty trade contractors, based on 20 project management factors.

There are many more awards available through ASA, and more information about all of them can be found by clicking here.

All award winners will be recognized during the 2020 SUBExcel conference on March 4-7, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  We highly encourage all ASA members to get involved in are awards program. These valuable recognition opportunities are only available to ASA members.

Upcoming Events

November 12, 2019

Understanding OSHA’s Multi-Employer Worksite Doctrine and the Unforeseeable Employee Misconduct Defense
by Philip J. Siegel, Hendrick, Phillips, Salzman & Siegel

December 10th, 2019

DOL Issues New Salary Threshold Requirements,
Effective January 2020

by Bill Ford, SESCO Management Consultants

January 7th, 2020

Payment Clauses: What to Watch For and How to Negotiate Them
by James Yand and Brian Esler


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