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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011: House of Representatives

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment because I believe it's based upon two false premises. The first is that evidence shows that contracts performed under PLAs are not as efficient. The data simply don't exist that show that. And second is the implication that this is somehow a politically connected decision by governments to reward building trades unions.

First of all, it doesn't have to be a union contractor. And second, and I think most importantly, all kinds of nongovernmental users use PLAs: the Disney Corporation, Inland Steel, ARCO, Boeing, Harvard University. These are all institutions and companies that use PLAs because they believe they are a good, sound business judgment.

Why should the Federal Government of the United States be precluded from exercising a similar sound business judgment? This is a poorly thought-out amendment, and the right vote is ``no.''

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Mr. ANDREWS. Members of both parties should oppose this amendment because it rests on three misjudgments.

The first misjudgment is that the wages established by this Davis-Bacon practice are union-imposed wages. The fact of the matter is they are prevailing wages which are determined by a survey of the local marketplace.

The second misjudgment is that it always raises the cost of a construction project. The fact is quite the opposite. When the productivity rises, the value rises; and if you have better performance and fewer errors and the faster completion of a project, productivity rises, and you get more value.

But I think the most important misjudgment is that it is, one more time, the wrong issue at the wrong time. There are a lot of Americans awake at this hour. Thankfully, for them, they're probably not watching this debate, but they're awake at this hour because this has yet been another day and another week and another month with no paycheck, no job and no hope.

What they want us to do is to work together to put them back to work. Yet what we have seen in the last 24 hours is a debate over whether to defund Planned Parenthood, a debate over whether to repeal most of the environmental protections that have taken 40 years to build up in this country, a debate over whether people have the right to know if they're buying safe toys, and now a debate over whether to repeal a successful labor-management partnership.

It's the wrong amendment at the wrong time.

Vote ``no.''

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