The Davis-Bacon Act Should Be Repealed

Gao ID: 109238 May 2, 1979

The Davis-Bacon Act requires that each contract for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or works in excess of $2,000 to which the United States is a party state the minimum wages to be paid to various classes of laborers and mechanics. The act was intended to discourage nonlocal contractors from sucessfully bidding on Federal Government projects by hiring cheap labor from outside the project area, thus disrupting the prevailing local wage structure. Significant changes in economic conditions, and in the economic character of the construction industry since 1931, plus the passage of other wage laws, make the act unnecessary. After nearly 50 years the Department of Labor has not developed an effective program to issue and maintain current and accurate wage determinations. The act results in unnecessary construction and administrative costs of several hundred million dollars. Senate bill 301 under consideration would remove the minimum wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act from contracts entered into pursuant to various laws relating to housing and community development. The proposed legislation is strongly supported and should be enacted into law.

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