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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 15, 2007)

* Mr. HARE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the amendment offered by the Gentleman from Kentucky that would strip critical Davis-Bacon protections from H.R. 2638, the fiscal year 2008 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

* The goal of the Davis-Bacon Act is to protect local construction wage standards by preventing contractors from bidding for federally funded contracts on the basis of wages lower than those prevailing in the area.

* Davis-Bacon applies to procurement of construction services by Federal agencies; however, it does not automatically apply to construction projects financed in whole or in part by federal grants and other forms of federal financial assistance to states and localities.

* Section 536 has therefore been included in H.R. 2638 in order to assure the consistent application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards to construction projects funded with federal assistance.

* Contrary to arguments we have heard this morning, numerous recent academic studies demonstrate that the application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards to construction projects does not substantially increase the cost of public works projects.

* Additionally, claims that the application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards to recipients of DHS grants violates states' rights raise a legal argument that was resolved 70 years ago when the Supreme Court held that federal statutes which offer financial assistance subject to acceptance of federal standards do not invade state sovereignty. The statute simply extends the right for states and localities to accept or reject the opportunity to obtain DHS grants and other federal financial assistance to help meet security and recovery needs.

* By guaranteeing payment of the prevailing local wage rate, Davis-Bacon provides a better standard of living and economic security for workers, particularly in rural communities and small towns like those in my Congressional district. It is crucial that these protections remain in H.R. 2638. Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to reject the Rogers Amendment.

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