Construction and Taxpayer Coalitions Opposes Biden’s Pro-Project Labor Agreement Proposal

0 October 17, 2022  Featured, Federal Construction

An ABC-led coalition of 22 organizations and associations representing thousands of companies employing millions of workers in the construction industry submitted a comment letter, Oct, 13, 2022, in opposition to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s Aug. 19 proposed rule implementing President Biden’s Feb. 4 Executive Order 14063 requiring controversial and inflationary project labor agreements on federal construction contracts of $35 million or more in total value.

According to the comment letter:

“The proposal will injure competition and increase costs on taxpayer-funded construction contracts included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and other measures passed by Congress that fund public works contracts without government-mandated PLA requirements or PLA preferences.

“In short, hardworking taxpayers are getting less and paying more when PLAs are mandated by the government on federal construction projects. In addition, PLA requirements will exacerbate the construction industry’s 2022 projected skilled labor shortage of nearly 650,000 workers, reduce competition from experienced contractors and undermine the federal government’s mission-critical infrastructure needs by preventing strong participation from businesses and construction workers directly harmed by anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies.

“Because the proposal cannot be salvaged, our coalition asks the FAR Council to scrap the proposal in its entirety. In addition, we call on the Biden administration to abandon its inflationary policies independent of the proposed rule which use infrastructure grant programs administered by federal agencies to push PLA mandates and preferences on federally assisted construction projects procured by state and local governments. In place of these controversial and inflationary policies, we call on the Biden administration to promote inclusive, win-win policies that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, increase accountability and reduce waste and favoritism in the procurement of federal and federally assisted construction projects.

“Ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects will ultimately result in savings to taxpayers, more jobs, more opportunities for all qualified small, minority- and women-owned businesses in the construction industry and the completion of more infrastructure projects built by quality contractors and construction workers safely, on time and on budget.”

The coalition’s website, BuildAmericaLocal.com, features a grassroots campaign and a number of educational resources such as studiesop-edsletterstalking points and a social media kit exposing problems with government-mandated PLAs and the Biden administration’s policies promoting anti-competitive and inflationary PLA schemes.

The letter was signed by the following organizations:

American Concrete Pumping Association
American Fire Sprinkler Association
American Pipeline Contractors Association
American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Associated Builders and Contractors
Business Coalition for Fair Competition
Construction Industry Round Table
HR Policy Association
Independent Electrical Contractors
National Association of Home Builders
National Black Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business
National Precast Concrete Association
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
National Utility Contractors Association
Plastics Pipe Institute
Power and Communication Contractors Association
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
Security Industry Association
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

ABC strongly opposes the proposal and is submitting its own detailed comments to the FAR Council in opposition to the proposed rule and has created an ABC Action grassroots action alert to help members submit their own comments to the FAR Council. The deadline to submit comments to the FAR Council is 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

For any questions regarding the FAR Council’s proposal, please review this FAQ document on Executive Order 14063, updated on Oct. 3.

Another coalition of 14 taxpayer advocate and government watchdog groups submitted a comment letter to the FAR Council in opposition to the proposed rule Oct. 17. According to the letter:

“Reducing competition will result in greater costs to taxpayers and undermine investments in infrastructure. For example, a 2021 RAND Corporation study found that PLAs raised the construction cost of Los Angeles affordable housing projects by 14.5 percent.

As President Biden noted in his Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, the American promise of a broad and sustained prosperity depends on an open and competitive economy. The rules for federal acquisition projects should also be open and competitive. This is especially true at a time when America is facing the highest inflation levels in decades. We urge the administration to rescind the PLA rule.”

The letter was signed by the following 14 groups:

60 Plus Association
American Consumer Institute
American Commitment
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Tax Reform
Business Coalition for Fair Competition
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Citizens Against Government Waster
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
Less Government
National Taxpayers Union
Open Competition Center
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Stay tuned for additional updates on the Biden administration’s misguided proposal.

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