House GOP Anti-Davis-Bacon Move Loses, Again


WASHINGTON—By a 231-192 tally, yet another House Republican move to trash workers’ rights and incomes – by repealing the Davis-Bacon Act’s requirement that firms constructing federal projects pay locally prevailing wages – lost on June 4.

Thirty-six Republicans defected from the party consensus against Davis-Bacon, a law the GOP wrote in 1931. The defectors supported locally prevailing wages, a key cause of construction unions, which lobbied strongly for the wages. All 195 voting Democrats backed Davis-Bacon. Meanwhile, 192 Republicans voted to kill it, but lost.

The vote was on an amendment to the money bill for military construction, offered by Right Wing Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. King has made a name for himself as one of the GOP’s outstanding haters of workers and unions. King is also a Tea Party favorite and a contender for the seat of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is retiring next year. King tried to kill Davis-Bacon last year, too, unsuccessfully.

AFL-CIO Building Trades President Sean McGarvey lauded the lawmakers for keeping Davis-Bacon and said King’s defeat should signal House GOP leaders to stop future tries. McGarvey called the votes to kill Davis-Bacon “a waste of time.”

“Even within what is widely considered to be the most conservative House of Representatives in a generation, the amendment was defeated by a decisive vote,” McGarvey said. “Notably, 36 Republicans voted ‘no,’ reaffirming the fact that a significant number of conservatives recognize the utility of ensuring that federal construction projects do not become the vehicle through which local community standards are undermined by ‘low-road’ contractors that seek competitive advantage through the deployment of a low-wage, low-skill, easily exploited workforce.”