Construction Industry Applauds House Committee’s Passage of the Fair and Open Competition Act Targeting Biden’s Project Labor Agreement Schemes

0 July 12, 2023  Featured, Federal Construction

Associated Builders and Contractors applauded the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability’s July 12 passage of the Fair and Open Competition Act, H.R. 1209. FOCA would protect federal and federally assisted construction contracts from anti-competitive and inflationary government-mandated project labor agreements and allow merit shop contractors and their skilled employees to have a fair chance at competing to win government contracts to build taxpayer-funded construction projects.

“FOCA would ensure that all of America’s workers and qualified contractors are provided the opportunity to compete to build long-lasting, quality projects at the best price for hardworking taxpayers,” said Kristen Swearingen, ABC vice president of legislative & political affairs. “PLA mandates discourage experienced contractors and the 88.3% of the U.S. private construction workforce that chooses not to join a union from competing to win taxpayer-funded contracts to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”

Federal government policies promoting and mandating PLAs on federal and federally assisted contracts will needlessly increase construction costs by 12% to 20% and result in fewer infrastructure projects and jobs created by federal investment in America’s roads, bridges, schools and water and energy infrastructure.

President Joe Biden’s February 2022 Executive Order 14063 requires federal general contractors and subcontractors to enter into a PLA as a condition of winning a contract to perform services on a federal construction project worth $35 million or more.  ABC submitted more than 40 pages of comments to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council calling on the Biden administration to withdraw a controversial proposed rule codifying EO 14063, which is expected to be issued later this year.

In addition, ABC has identified a significant number of Biden administration federal agency grants––totaling more than $250 billion for infrastructure projects procured by state and local governments––subject to language and policies promoting PLA mandates and preferences that will increase costs and reduce competition on federally assisted construction projects. Likewise, the Biden administration is pushing private developers to mandate PLAs on clean energy construction projects supported by more than $270 billion in federal tax incentives via the Inflation Reduction Act and U.S. microchip manufacturing facilities receiving more than $50 billion in federal CHIPS Act funding.

Ahead of the committee vote, ABC sent a letter to the committee and led a coalition letter signed by a coalition of 26 construction and business organizations in support of FOCA. A broad coalition of construction industry organizations and pro-taxpayer advocates have supported FOCA in the 118th Congress and in previous years.

FOCA (H.R. 1209/S. 537) was introduced by Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky. and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.

Stakeholders can write their lawmakers and encourage them to cosponsor FOCA via this grassroots campaign.

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