IN OPPOSITION TO THE KING OF IOWA AMENDMENT TO H.R. 22, THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION REAUTHORIZATION AND REFORM ACT OF 2015
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the King amendment.
This amendment would prohibit the application and payment of prevailing wages provided under the Davis-Bacon Act for funds expended on construction projects in this bill.
Davis-Bacon sets wage and benefit standards for federally assisted construction projects to ensure that contractors compete on the quality of their work, not by undercutting wage levels in local communities. Negating the application of wage laws, as the King amendment proposes to do, often leads to shoddy construction and substantial cost overruns.
This is not said to insult the sponsor of the amendment. The fact is that the census construction data shows that the value added per worker in States with prevailing wage laws is 13 to 15 percent higher than in States without prevailing wage laws.
Additionally, studies conducted by the University of Utah have found that repealing the prevailing wage has led to the reduction or elimination of apprenticeship programs. Mr. Chairman, this is National Apprenticeship Week. We should be promoting the participation in apprenticeship programs, not taking up measures that would negatively impact this critical job training tool.
Under prevailing wage laws, contractors are forced to compete on the basis of who can best train, equip, and
manage construction crews, not on the basis of who can assemble the cheapest, most exploitable workforce either locally or by importing labor from somewhere else.
Historically, Mr. Chairman, there has been bipartisan opposition to repealing or suspending the Davis-Bacon Act in infrastructure programs. Let's continue that bipartisan tradition on prevailing wages by voting ``no'' on this amendment.