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False Claims of Broad Support Prompted Senate Action to Exclude Small Construction Firms from Health Care Exemptions

Analysis of Measure's Supporters Show they Represent Less than 4 Percent of Construction Employers and 16 Percent of Construction Workers, Far Fewer than 64 Percent Claimed

Organizations supporting changes to the Senate health care legislation excluding small construction contractors from the small business exception represent a tiny minority of construction firms and workers, according to a new analysis conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. That analysis contradicts claims by Senate staffers that the late-night measure has been endorsed by 64 percent of the industry.

"This measure is a real insult to hard working contractors and their employees, especially since the rationale for including the language is quickly crumbling," said Stephen Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the association. "If Senators are willing to sell out the construction industry so easily, anyone could be next."

The measure singling out small construction firms was backed by an umbrella organization called the Campaign for Quality Construction. The five groups that belong to the Campaign claim to represent 27,000 contractors, or 3.3 percent of the nation's 811,452 construction firms. Construction and related unions supporting this measure, meanwhile, represent only 15.6 percent of the nation's 5,960,000 construction workers.

Those relatively low figures contradict claims made by Senate staffers following the late night decision to single out small construction firms that the measure had the backing of almost two-thirds of the construction industry.

"Our members overwhelmingly oppose the Senate's decision to single out small firms for extra fees and fines," Sandherr said, noting that AGC members have already sent over 3,000 letters to Congress criticizing the measure. "Sixty senators are going to have a lot of explaining to do to with local employers when they go home for the holidays."

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