WASHINGTON, Aug. 12—Associated Builders and Contractors released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed Senate Democrats’ $740 billion tax-and-spend bill:
“Democratic lawmakers now own the consequences of sending this radical bill to the president’s desk, including potential economic fallout, additional inflation, more workforce shortages and high materials prices that we could see in the near future,” said Kristen Swearingen, ABC vice president of legislative & political affairs. “It imposes anti-growth tax policies and injects hundreds of billions of federal dollars into the economy at a time when we are facing record-high inflation.
“Penalizing employers that pay wages based on experience, quality and market rates and limiting opportunities for millions of construction workers who choose not to join a union is no way to legislate, said Swearingen. “The so-called Inflation Reduction Act will provide an increased tax credit for private employers that impose Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements and government-registered apprenticeship labor-hour quotas. This unprecedented expansion of prevailing wages not only puts contractors that use industry-recognized apprenticeships at a serious competitive disadvantage when it comes to winning contracts for these critical energy projects, but it also limits the ability of many otherwise-qualified small businesses and skilled construction professionals from participating in these projects.
“While the bill provides $250 billion in incentives for clean energy projects, 83% of the value of these credits lies in projects that nonunion workers will be largely prevented from participating in due to these labor restrictions,” said Swearingen. “For an industry facing a workforce shortage of 650,000 in 2022, this is no time to impose restrictive labor policies that would exclude nearly nine out of 10 U.S. construction workers from building America’s energy infrastructure.
“Regardless of the efforts of Democrats in Washington, ABC will continue to work to ensure all qualified contractors are able to work on these new energy projects,” said Swearingen.
This week, ABC sent a letter to the House highlighting the failures in the reconciliation package, urging lawmakers to oppose the bill because its tax hikes and restrictive labor policies “would be devastating for the construction industry and the recovery needed to restore our economy.”