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Press Release Published:Jun 16, 2022

Comer, Oversight Republicans: Biden Administration’s Federal Construction Policies Harm Taxpayers & American Workers

Call for briefing on proposed rule implementing President Biden’s executive order requiring project labor agreements for large-scale construction projects

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Oversight Committee Republicans today sent a letter to top officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) raising concerns about efforts to implement President Biden’s Executive Order 14063, “Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects.” President Biden’s order threatens to raise taxpayer costs, cut non-union workers out of federal projects, and force right-to-work states to freeze local workers out of cooperative federal projects. The Republican lawmakers request officials from OMB, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and Office of Federal Procurement Policy provide a briefing on the proposed rule.

“President Biden’s Executive Order 14063, ‘Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects,’ charged the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council to propose within 120 days a rule which could require project labor agreements (PLAs) in all federal construction projects worth $35 million or more. This order threatens to raise taxpayer costs, cut non-union workers out of federal projects, and force right-to-work states to freeze local workers out of cooperative federal projects,” wrote the lawmakers. “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.”

Studies have shown that the use of PLAs lead to increases of twelve to twenty percent in taxpayer-funded construction costs. Requiring PLAs drastically reduces the number of contractors and subcontractors able to bid on projects, which inevitably raises costs. The anti-competitive policies contained in President Biden’s executive order also likely violate current law.  

“President Biden’s order on PLAs will likely lead to local workers losing out on jobs, unnecessary delay in the recovery of families and communities, higher costs for taxpayers, decreased competition, and incoherent Administration policy,” continued the lawmakers. “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,”

The letter to OMB Director Shalanda Young, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Deputy Administrator Dominic Mancini, and Office of Federal Procurement Policy Acting Administrator Lesley Field can be found here.