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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this amendment to H.R. 5854, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2013. I also want to thank my colleagues--Mr. Gosar, Mr. Steve King, and Mr. Amash--for joining me in cosponsoring this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment would ensure that no funds made available by H.R. 5854 could be used to implement, administer, or enforce the Davis-Bacon Act requirements for government contracts.

Mr. Chairman, the Davis-Bacon Act is an anachronistic law that was enacted during the Great Depression to prevent wayfaring contractors from lowballing local construction bids. The sponsors of this act originally intended for it to discriminate against nonunionized black workers in favor of white workers belonging to white-only unions. This vestigial remnant of the Jim Crow era has no place in our military construction contracts and should be abandoned.

Furthermore, the Davis-Bacon Act results in billions of wasted taxpayer dollars every year. The act requires Federal construction contractors to pay their workers higher government-mandated wages, which would be as much as 1 1/2 times greater than their basic pay rate. This results in artificially high costs of construction, Mr. Chairman, which are ultimately shouldered by American taxpayers. Contractors wishing to offer a lower bid would still be required by law to pay their employees the higher government-mandated wage and file a weekly report of the wages paid to each worker. This has a particularly negative effect on small businesses as they are often unable to compete due to the Davis-Bacon wage and benefits requirements, which reduces competition and further inflates contract rates.

Moreover, Mr. Chairman, Davis-Bacon was enacted before the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act; and, according to GAO, these acts have rendered Davis-Bacon obsolete and unnecessary. There are a number of laws passed by this body that protect construction workers without the discriminatory intent and effect of Davis-Bacon.

During this time of fiscal austerity and responsibility, Congress must do all it can to lower Federal contract costs and decrease the burden on American taxpayers. This amendment is an attempt to stop the hemorrhage of wasteful spending and rein in our debt.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment that would ensure no funds are made available by H.R. 5854 that could be used to implement, administer, or enforce the wasteful Davis-Bacon Act, and I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.


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