Senate floor debate on an $848- billion health-care measure is poised to start. The chamber on Nov. 21 voted 60-39 to take up the bill, the minimum margin needed. The measure builds on packages cleared by two committees and contains a public insurance option, which many moderate lawmakers oppose. Labor unions support the Senate bill, but several construction groups and most GOP legislators oppose it. The House passed its version on Nov. 7.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.