On July 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, on a mostly party line vote of 233 to 188, with three Republicans voting for the bill and two Democrats voting against it. The House Democrats’ infrastructure plan would spend more than $1.5 trillion on surface transportation, airport, school, housing, healthcare, energy, water and broadband infrastructure, however, it also includes numerous anti-merit shop provisions opposed by ABC.
In a statement issued after the vote, ABC said, “While ABC agrees with the need for a substantial transportation infrastructure package, this bill includes harmful policies that will be detrimental to our nation’s ability to effectively and efficiently rebuild and modernize its infrastructure.
“By requiring anti-competitive provisions, such as government-mandated project labor agreements and inflationary Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, this bill will dissuade contractors from bidding on projects, drive up overall costs and exclude the overwhelming majority of America’s construction industry professionals who choose not to join a union. These measures would also have a devastating impact on small construction businesses that are seeking to recover from the ongoing health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
“The path forward on repairing our nation’s infrastructure should be rooted in fair and open competition and equal opportunity, not policies that favor big labor and costly, ineffective federal mandates.”
Ahead of the vote, ABC members took action, urging their representatives to vote against H.R. 2, referencing a key vote letter that ABC sent to the House in opposition to the final passage of the bill that detailed many of its harmful provisions.
Additionally, ABC sent a key vote letter to members of Congress in support of an amendment introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) that would eliminate the bill’s expansion of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements. The amendment failed to be adopted before the final passage of H.R. 2.
While ABC expressed support for increased funding for infrastructure programs, ABC opposed the bill because of the mandates that would leave the majority of America’s construction workers who choose not to join a union out of the opportunity to rebuild their communities.
The path forward for legislative action on infrastructure remains murky, as the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing the bill, stating that if H.R. 2 were presented to the president, it would be vetoed. Additionally, the U.S. Senate has its own bipartisan surface transportation and water infrastructure bills, but they do not currently have a clear path forward for full consideration.
ABC will continue to update members on the developments of transportation and infrastructure legislation in Newsline.