In the 112th Congress, the merit shop contracting community educated lawmakers about the impact of discriminatory project labor agreement (PLA) mandates and preferences, as well as promoted commonsense legislation restoring a level playing field in federal contracting.
The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 735/S.119), introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and Sen. David Vitter (R. La.), prohibits federal agencies from requiring or prohibiting contractors to execute a PLA as a condition of winning a federal or federally assisted construction contract. It finished the 112th Congress with a record 181 cosponsors in the House, 32 cosponsors in the Senate, and broad support from a diverse coalition of construction industry associations and employer groups opposed to government-mandated PLAs.
In addition, the House voted five times—another important milestone—on the following amendments restricting government-mandated PLAs on various bills funding and authorizing federal construction projects:
- Rep. Guinta amdt. to Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1), (ABC supported, amdt. defeated via tie 210-210), 2/19/11.
- Rep. Scalise amdt. to Homeland Security Approps. 2012 (H.R. 2017), (ABC supported, amdt. defeated 207-213), 6/2/11.
- Rep. LaTourette amdt. to MilCon/VA Approps. 2012 (H.R. 2055), (ABC opposed, amdt. passed 204-203), 6/13/11.
- Rep. Bartlett amdt. to National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310) , (ABC supported, amdt. passed 211 to 209), 5/21/12. (Provision was removed in conference).
- Rep. Grimm amdt. to MilCon/VA Approps. 2013 (H.R. 5854) (ABC opposed, amdt. passed 218-198), 5/31/12.
- Congressional Research Service memo on anti-PLA mandate and preference amendments, proving the amendment language does not prohibit voluntary PLAs, but simply prohibits government-mandated PLAs and PLA preferences, 5/25/12.
These amendments, like H.R. 735/S. 119, attempted to restore government neutrality in contracting by prohibting government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction projects authorized in these spending bills.
In the 112th Congress, U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittees held multiple hearings exploring government-mandated PLAs and the benefits of H.R. 735.
On June 3, 2011, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform Subcommittee held a hearing, “H.R. 735 and Project Labor Agreements: Restoring Competition and Neutrality to Government Construction Projects.”
- Review the hearing video, transcripts, testimony and analysis here.
On March 16, 2011, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending Subcommittee held a hearing, “Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation: The Cost of Doing Business in the Construction Industry.”