An attempt to change the Davis-Bacon Act was made last week in Congress when Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) presented an amendment to H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

Gosar’s amendment was met with opposition as it proposed to fundamentally change the way prevailing wage is calculated throughout the country.

Gosar stated that his amendment would, “require the calculation of wages for contractors and all defense projects to be based on actual statistics calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, as opposed to the current process which determines these rates based on fundamentally flawed surveys within the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, or the DOL.”

While Gosar’s amendment may have sounded reasonable, it wasn’t. His proposed methodology for calculating what he later called “a fair wage” was fundamentally shortsighted, leaving out crucial factors such as: cost of pensions, healthcare and cost of training.

West Virginia Rep. David McKinley (R-1st) opposed Gosar’s amendment stating to the House:

“His amendment would change dramatically the methodology used to determine wage rates paid to construction workers across America. While this proposal may appear to be reasonable at first blush, it would dramatically depart from the current practice and would result in massive pay cuts for working families.

“Unlike the current system, the methodology would not take into consideration the total value of all wages and benefits into account. It excludes the cost of pensions, healthcare, and, vitally, training
that we need to have,” McKinley continued. “So what we are trying to say, Mr. Chairman, is the full benefit must be considered, and it is not in this amendment.”

The U.S. House of Representatives decisively rejected this attack on the Davis-Bacon Act with 51 Republican members and all Democratic members voting to defeat Gosar’s Amendment.

Included amongst those who showed opposition to Gosar’s amendment were numerous Ohio representatives from both sides of the aisle, including our very own Pat Tiberi (R-12th), Jim Renacci (R-16th), David Joyce (R-14th District), Marcy Kaptur (D-9th), Steve Stivers (D-15th) and Tim Ryan (D-13th).

We want to thank all of our representatives for supporting us and ensuring that prevailing wage and the Davis-Bacon Act remain as strong and vital as ever.

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