On June 16, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer, Ky., and 12 other House Republicans sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget raising concerns about the implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order 14063, “Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects,” highlighting concerns that the proposal will raise taxpayer costs, cut nonunion workers out of federal projects and force right-to-work states to freeze local workers out of cooperative federal projects. The executive order mandates PLAs on federal construction projects of $35 million or more.
“As America emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and confronts surging inflation, this is exactly the wrong policy to pursue—harming workers, punishing local economies and states, and increasing already out-of-control federal spending,” he wrote. “It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Congress did not include PLA requirements in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, and other recent infrastructure legislation. Eighty-seven percent of the U.S. construction workforce does not belong to a union.
OMB’s Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council is charged with developing a proposed rule to implement Executive Order 14063, which is currently under review at OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The President’s push for PLA requirements threatens to shut the vast majority of construction workers out of the employment opportunities Congress intended this legislation to provide. The danger is especially acute in right-to-work states, where the President’s order threatens to eliminate local workers entirely from work on the affected projects.”
Comer requested that OMB officials provide a briefing responding to the committee’s concerns on the proposed rule and its lawfulness. The letter was signed by 12 other Republican committee members: Jody Hice, Ga., Glenn Grothman, Wisc., Michael Cloud, Texas, Ralph Norman, S.C., Nancy Mace, S.C., Virginia Foxx, N.C., Bob Gibbs, Ohio, Fred Keller, Pa., Andy Biggs, Ariz., Andrew Clyde, Ga., Scott Franklin, Fla., and Jake LaTurner, Kans.
ABC blasted the Biden administration’s Feb. 4, 2022, pro-PLA EO, calling it anti-competitive for small businesses and costly for taxpayers.
On Feb. 15, ABC and 15 organizations representing tens of thousands of companies and millions of employees in the construction industry sent a letter to President Biden outlining concerns with the EO.
On Feb. 28, ABC and a coalition of 19 organizations from the construction industry and the business community sent a letter to Congress in support of the Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 403/H.R. 1284), which would restrict government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction projects.
On March 7, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., led a group of 42 Senate Republicans in sending a letter to President Biden opposing the EO, saying that “a fair and open bidding process for federal construction projects would guarantee the best value for hardworking taxpayers located in all geographies and regions across the United States.”
On March 8, Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., and 59 House members signed a letter to President Biden saying that PLA mandates and preferences will “deny critical construction jobs to local workers and small businesses,” urging the White House to refrain from “attaching strings to infrastructure funding that create discriminatory barriers to recovery.”
On April 6, ABC sent a letter to the White House with more than 1,200 signatures from members and chapters voicing strong opposition to President Biden’s PLA EO. The letter also lays out concerns with other federal agency policies promoting PLAs on federally assisted construction projects, which would affect the allocation of funds under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law last year, as well as other laws providing funds for state and local governments to improve its infrastructure.
On April 26, almost 20 Republican Governors sent a letter to the Biden administration asking for the “Office of Management and Budget–along with respective federal agencies charged with implementation, grant programs, draft regulations and guidance related to legislation funding infrastructure projects––afford states and localities maximum regulatory flexibility free from anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies.”
On April 27, ABC sent a letter to a congressional transportation and infrastructure subcommittee warning of the negative impacts of imposing government-mandated PLAs on infrastructure spending.