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Public Statements

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of the bipartisan Grimm Amendment on Project Labor Agreements, or PLAs.

In construction, contractors often do not have a permanent workforce.

This makes it hard to predict the length and cost of a project.

On large projects with many employers, a labor dispute with just one can delay the entire project.

PLAs are short-term agreements for the length of a project that can reduce a project's length and cost.

PLAs lead to higher-quality work by spelling out the work requirements, pay, benefits, and dispute resolution in advance.

PLAs prevent worker strikes and reduce turnover.

In 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order on PLAs.

The Executive Order encouraged Federal agencies to consider requiring PLAs for large Federal construction projects of $25 million or more.

In Hawaii, last week Governor Neil Abercrombie announced a PLA plan for five large state construction projects.

This can help save taxpayer money and create Hawaii jobs, while minimizing project uncertainty.

While PLAs are regarded as cost efficient, sadly, this Majority in Congress has tried again and again to undermine the use of Project Labor Agreements.

Today's FY 2013 MilCon-VA bill forbids military construction contracts from requiring PLAs.

The bipartisan Grimm Amendment would remove this prohibition to allow Federal contractors a choice on PLAs.

Today's amendment vote feels like déja 2 vu.

Congress has had vote after vote on this issue.

Last year at this time we debated the FY 2012 MilCon-VA bill.

I supported at that time a similar bipartisan amendment to preserve PLAs.

That amendment by Mr. LATOURETTE, Republican of Ohio, passed 204 to 203, with over two dozen Republican votes.

This issue shouldn't be about Democrats and Republicans. It's about supporting flexibility, common sense, and job creation.

We need to put our differences aside and do the right thing.

In Hawaii we call this laulima--cooperation.

I'm proud to stand with Republican Congressman MICHAEL GRIMM and Republican Congressman STEVE LATOURETTE on this issue.

I urge all my colleagues to support the Grimm Amendment today as well.


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