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The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (H.R. 2029) April 30. While on the floor, two amendments were introduced that impact federal contractors.

The first amendment, offered by Congressional Progressive Caucus member Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), would have effectively prevented federal contractors with a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation in the past five years from being awarded any federal contracts funded by this bill. According to a letter ABC sent to House lawmakers in advance of the vote, ABC and the “federal contracting community across all industries oppose this amendment because it is a job killer, it will increase costs to taxpayers by reducing competition, and such a draconian change in longstanding federal contracting rules will irreparably harm good companies attempting to comply with a complicated law.”

The amendment failed 186-237 with just three Republicans voting with all Democrats in support of the Pocan amendment. In contrast, more than 25 Republicans supported this amendment when it was adopted 212-204 last year on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 4870) by an amendment offered by Congressional Progressive Caucus member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). However, the Ellison amendment language failed to become law in the 113th Congress.

The second amendment of interest to federal contractors was offered by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and supported by ABC. The amendment (H.Amdt. 150) would have exempted projects funded by this bill from the Davis-Bacon Act’s government-determined prevailing wage requirements. It failed with a vote of 186-235, with 52 Republicans and all Democrats voting against the King amendment. 

According to a letter sent by ABC to House lawmakers in advance of the vote, “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the Davis-Bacon Act will raise federal construction costs by $13 billion over the next eight years.”

Learn more about ABC’s position on Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage laws here