Fair and Open Competition on Taxpayer-Funded Federal and Federally Assisted Construction Projects

•  Oppose President Biden’s Pro-PLA Executive Order 14063


On Feb. 4, 2022, President Biden signed Executive Order 14063, which requires PLAs on all federal construction contracts of $35 million or more, with limited and rare exceptions. On Dec. 22, 2023, the Biden administration published a long-awaited Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s final rule, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, and a related White House Office of Management and Budget Memo.

Effective Jan. 22, 2024, the Biden rule replaced President Obama’s Feb. 2, 2009, Executive Order 13502 and related regulations, which encouraged federal agencies to mandate PLAs on large-scale federal construction projects exceeding $25 million in total value on a case-by-case basis, and permitted states and localities to mandate PLAs on federally assisted projects.

ABC expects the Biden administration’s final rule to affect about 180 federal contracts of $35 million or more valued at a total of $14 billion to $16 billion per year. Independent of the final rule, the Biden administration is also pushing PLA mandates and preferences on more than $260 billion worth of federal agency grant programs for federally assisted infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing construction projects.

ABC condemned the Biden administration’s pro-PLA policies, and included the results of its Sept. 7, 2022, survey of ABC contractor members’ opinions and experiences with government-mandated PLAs in more than 40 pages of comments ABC submitted on Oct. 18, 2022, to the FAR Council opposing the rule. In addition, more than 50 members of Congress, 19 governors, 22 construction industry anti-PLA coalition members and a dozen taxpayer advocates submitted comments to the FAR Council opposing the rule, urging the administration to withdraw its proposed rule and other Biden administration schemes pushing government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction projects.

Additionally, ABC sent the White House a letter on April 6, 2022, with more than 1,200 signatures from member companies and chapters strongly opposing the executive order and other efforts by the Biden administration to push PLAs on federally assisted projects.

ABC slammed the EO, the proposed rule and the final rule in statements picked up in dozens of publications nationwide, including a Feb. 9, 2022, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and a Jan. 4, 2024, op-ed in Fox Business: “This anti-competitive and costly executive order rewards well-connected special interests at the expense of hardworking taxpayers and small businesses who benefit from fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects.”

ABC is currently evaluating legal options to challenge the Biden administration’s anti-competitive and costly EO policy and individual PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction contracts. For more information, please visit abc.org/bidenplafaqs.

Desired Outcome

Because government-mandated PLAs increase costs 12% to 20%, a record 89.3% of the U.S. construction workforce does not belong to a union and the construction industry will need to attract more than 500,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2024 to meet the demand for labor, the Biden administration would be best served by promoting inclusive, win-win policies that welcome all of America’s construction industry to realize the full potential of federal taxpayer investments to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Doing so will increase accountability and competition and reduce waste and favoritism in the procurement of public works projects.

ABC has activated a grassroots campaign urging members of the House and Senate to co-sponsor the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R.1209/S.537), which would prevent the federal government from mandating PLAs as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. It received 117 co-sponsors in the House and 27 in the Senate in the 118th Congress, as of Feb. 14, 2024.

On July 12, 2023, FOCA passed out of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability by a vote of 22-20, and, as a result, the window for House FOCA co-sponsorship is expected to close in early 2024.

ABC members are encouraged to visit the ABC Action Center and urge their members of Congress to support FOCA.

Visit freeenterprisealliance.org/foca to learn more and take action.

In addition, visit BuildAmericaLocal.com, a coalition website where the public can learn more and communicate with their elected officials about government-mandated PLAs.

•  The Biden administration’s White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment


On Feb. 7, 2022, the Biden administration’s White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment issued its report on how to boost union membership in the federal government and public and private sectors. The report offers nearly 70 recommendations to promote pro-union policies and practices in the federal government, including the use of PLAs and other policies that would reduce competition and increase costs.

ABC stated, “The report’s recommendations to expand the use of anti-competitive and costly PLAs  will increase infrastructure project costs by 12% to 20%, reduce competition from the best quality public works contractors and exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage by discriminating against the nearly 9 out of 10 members of the construction workforce who choose to be union-free.”

Combined with President Biden’s Feb. 4 executive order requiring PLAs on federal contracts exceeding $35 million, it is clear that the Biden administration will not create opportunities for all construction workers, small businesses and experienced contractors who build America safely, on time and on budget.

Desired Outcome

ABC will monitor actions resulting from the report and will continue to urge members of Congress and the Biden administration to promote inclusive, win-win policies that will increase accountability and competition while reducing waste and favoritism in the procurement of public works projects. ABC wants everyone in the construction industry to have the opportunity to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. It will take the entire construction workforce to realize the full potential of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other new laws making significant investments in America’s infrastructure.