Today the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Military Construction (MilCon) and Veterans Affairs (VA) and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012 (H.R. 2055).
Section 415 of H.R. 2055 ensures fair and open competition on federal construction contracts funded by this legislation. Specifically, it will prevent federal agencies from requiring contractors to sign an anti-competitive and costly project labor agreement (PLA) as a condition of winning federal construction contracts.
On June 1, the White House issued a policy statement that opposed, among other things, Section 415’s restrictions on PLA mandates in H.R. 2055.
In February 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13502, which stated that “it is the policy of the federal government to encourage executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects.” The order encourages federal agencies to mandate PLAs on a case-by-case basis on federal projects exceeding $25 million in total cost.
The Obama executive order and related regulations have exposed agency procurement officials to intense political pressure from special interest groups, the Obama administration, agency political appointees and members of Congress to mandate PLAs and PLA preferences on MilCon and VA projects even when they are not appropriate. (See examples of federal MilCon and VA projects subjected to waste and favoritism here and here).
However, today Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) wants to inject waste, favoritism and discrimination into the federal procurement process on projects funded by this bill by offering an amendment to strike Section 415 from H.R. 2055.
Supporters of this amendment believe agencies should be able to mandate federal PLAs and needlessly discriminate against qualified and experienced contractors and employees that are unwilling to sign a collective bargaining agreement with unions (a PLA) as a condition of winning a federal construction contract. A vote for this amendment is a vote for waste and cronyism and is a symptom of special interest favoritism that is eroding the integrity of the federal procurement process.
Last week, a diverse coalition of construction industry associations and employer groups (see below) sent a letter to the House OPPOSING any amendment, such as the LaTourette amendment, that would strike Section 415 from the bill.
PLA mandates and PLA preferences imposed by federal agencies building construction projects funded by H.R. 2055 discourage competition from qualified contractors that want nothing more than to deliver to taxpayers and the government the best possible construction product at the best possible price.
If a federal contractor wants to voluntarily enter into a PLA on a federal construction project funded by H.R. 2055, there is nothing in current law, Section 415 or H.R. 2055 that would prevent them from doing so voluntarily.
Congress must ensure that construction projects funded by H.R. 2055 are cost-effective and administered without favoritism or discrimination.
Section 415 of H.R. 2055 will eliminate inefficiencies in the federal contracting procurement process, increase competition, reduce costs and create construction jobs while protecting the public interest.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Taxpayers and construction industry stakeholders MUST participate in the legislative process and contact their elected officials TODAY. Tell them to OPPOSE the LaTourette amendment and any amendment that would strike Section 415 from H.R. 2055.
Supporters of fair and open competition can send an email to their member of Congress through this fast and easy Grassroots Action Center or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
This vote will be very close, so every call, email and fax matters.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com readers may recall that an amendment supported by the merit shop to prohibit costly PLA mandates and preferences on the Homeland Security Appropriations Act for 2012 (H.R. 2017), offered by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), failed June 2 in a 207-213 vote. That amendment would have restrained federal agencies from implementing and enforcing PLA mandates and preferences on projects funded by H.R. 2017.
In February, a similar amendment to the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) offered by Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) failed in a 210-210 tie.
The following representatives will decide the fate of the LaTourette amendment and especially need to hear from you:
|Voted No on Guinta Amendment
(H.R. 1, Failed 210-210)
|Voted No on Scalise Amendment (H.R. 2017, Failed 207-213)|
|Alexander (LA) (voted yes on Scalise)|
|Diaz-Balart (FL)||Diaz-Balart (FL)|
|Emerson (MO)||Emerson (MO)|
|Hultgren (IL) (voted yes on Scalise)|
|Johnson (IL)||Johnson (IL)|
|King (NY)||King (NY)|
|Lance (NJ)||Lance (NJ)|
|LaTourette (OH)||LaTourette (OH)|
|LoBiondo (NJ)||LoBiondo (NJ)|
|McCotter (MI)||McCotter (MI)|
|McKinley (WV)||McKinley (WV)|
|Miller (MI) (voted yes on Scalise)|
|Petri (WI)||Petri (WI)|
|Reichert (WA)||Reichert (WA)|
|Ros Lehtinen (FL)||Ros Lehtinen (FL)|
|Ryan (WI) (voted yes on Scalise)|
|Schilling (IL) (voted yes on Scalise)|
|Schmidt (OH)||Schmidt (OH)|
|Shimkus (IL)||Shimkus (IL)|
|Schock (IL)||Schock (IL)|
|Smith (NJ)||Smith (NJ)|
|Turner (OH)||Turner (OH)|
|Walsh (IL)||Walsh (IL)|
|Whitfield (KY)||Whitfield (KY)|
|Young (AK)||Young (AK)|
The Following Construction Industry and Employer Groups Support Section 415 of H.R. 2055:
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
Associated General Contractors (AGC)
Construction Industry Roundtable (CIRT)
Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IEC)
Electronic Security Association (ESA)
Merit Elevator Contractors Association of America (MECAA)
National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) – Philadelphia Chapter
National Association of Government Contractors (NAGC)
National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMA)
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA)
NUCA Representing Utility and Excavation Contractors
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Women Construction Owners and Executives, USA (WCOE)
Here is Section 415 of H.R. 2055 (page 60 of pdf):
Sec. 415. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enforce Executive Order 13502 (41 U.S.C. 251 note), FAR Rule 2009-005, or any agency memorandum, bulletin, or contracting policy that derives its authority from Executive Order 13502 or FAR Rule 2009-005.
Check back for updates here later today.
This evening, the LaTourette Amendment was ADOPTED 204-203. This is the second time in the 112th Congress an effort to restrict wasteful and disctiminatory government-mandated PLAs failed by just one vote.
Here is the final vote for Roll Call #413.
The following 27 GOP members voted with every Democrat except Dan Boren (D-OK) in support of the LaTourette amendment:
Barton, J. (TX-06)
Emerson, J. (MO-08)
Johnson, Timothy (IL-15)
King, P. (NY-03)
Murphy, T. (PA-18)
Smith, C. (NJ-04)
Turner, M. (OH-03)
Young, D. (AK-AL)
Of the 26 House members that did not cast a vote, the following 10 GOP members did not vote:
Brady, K. (TX-08)
Johnson, S. (TX-03)
King, S. (IA-05)
Paul, Ron (TX-14)
The following 15 Democrats did not vote:
Slaughter, L. (NY-28)
Wasserman Schultz (FL-20)
Please contact your member of Congress and explain how typical government-mandated PLAs and PLA preferences reduce competition, increase costs and harm qualified businesses and their skilled employees.
More updates to follow.