On April 14, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hosted a “Members’ Day Hearing” to seek recommendations on the policy priorities of members of the U.S. House of Representatives as they begin to consider legislation to reauthorize surface transportation legislation, which expires at the end of September.

After  the hearing, Rep. Ted Budd (N.C.), sponsor of ABC’s priority legislation, the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1284), sent a letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure leadership signed by 26 members of the U.S. House expressing enthusiastic support for a fair and open competitive bidding process and strong opposition to project labor agreement mandates on federal and federally assisted taxpayer-funded construction projects.

Rep. Budd also provided written testimony urging the Committee to consider to include the Fair and Open Competition Act in the surface transportation reauthorization, while also warning the members of the harm that mandating PLAs would have on the construction industry.

“I ask that the committee include my Fair and Open Competition Act, H.R. 1284, in the surface transportation bill. This bill prevents federal agencies and recipients of federal assistance from requiring contractors to sign controversial project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning a construction contract. This would ensure that taxpayer funded construction contracts are awarded through fair and open competition. This guarantees the best value for hardworking taxpayers by prohibiting a rigged federal procurement process that discriminates against many small construction businesses. Many of the bill’s 45 cosponsors have signed onto a letter asking the committee to include this proposal ” said Rep. Budd. Rep. Budd’s full written testimony can be found here.

In a similar effort, on March 31, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) authored a letter addressed to the leadership of the infrastructure-focused Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that was signed by eight U.S. senators. Sen. Young is the lead sponsor of the Senate’s Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 403). The letter was also signed by Republican Sens. Tim Scott (S.C.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), James Risch (S.D.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), and John Barrasso (Wyo.).

Since its introduction, the Fair and Open Competition Act has been supported by a diverse coalition of construction and business associations as well as a large group of taxpayer, free market and consumer advocates.

These congressional efforts in support of FOCA come as President Joe Biden’s recently released American Jobs Plan calls on Congress to tie federal investments in infrastructure to ABC-opposed government-mandated project labor agreements/community workforce agreements, as well as prevailing wage regulations via the archaic Davis-Bacon Act, registered apprenticeship programs and the ABC-opposed PRO Act. President Biden’s plan also notably did not address a multi-year reauthorization of the expiring surface transportation legislation (the FAST Act), instead leaving the reauthorization process to Congress to address.

In ABC’s response to President Biden’s plan, president and CEO Mike Bellaman opposed the anticompetitive measures, saying, “Government-mandated PLAs exclude more than 87% of the U.S. construction workforce from rebuilding their communities and benefitting from well-paying middle-class jobs created by taxpayer investments in infrastructure.” Bellaman also pointed out that “taxpayers will spend 20% more per mandated PLA project, which results in fewer infrastructure improvements and less job creation to help America rebound from the pandemic’s economic devastation.”

As Congress begins to consider infrastructure-related legislation, ABC will continue to lead advocacy efforts to ensure that any federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure benefits all of the U.S. construction industry, regardless of labor affiliation. Learn more about ABC’s opposition to government-mandated PLAs and support for the Fair and Open Competition Act at freeenterprisealliance.org/foca.