4:00 PM EDT
Paul Gosar, R-AZ 1st

Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of my amendment to H.R. 2354 that seeks to defund title 40, U.S.C. section 31, up to $20 million instead of the current $2,000 threshold.

Right now we are in serious and prolonged economic recession. The construction industry has been hit the hardest throughout the United States. My amendment defunds the Davis-Bacon Act up to a certain amount in order to allow small business and small contractors the ability to compete on the smaller government contracts.

This amendment will assist the small businesses that do not have the resources to compete for the larger contracts that compel compliance with all the requirements of Davis-Bacon. That is why this amendment defunds contract applications for smaller contracts under the $20 million threshold, but the larger projects are still subject to the Davis-Bacon Act. This is a temporary measure for the duration of the fiscal year in direct response to the recession.

Now, on average, research establishes that Federal public projects that are forced to operate under this law spend 22 percent more than projects not bound by this law. By eliminating the onerous cost for small projects, there will actually be more work, up to 22 percent more work, for the same dollar and the smaller contractors will be able to compete for jobs that otherwise are out of their reach.

Yet this agreement preserves the application of the act to the larger projects, so that those big projects across the U.S., where larger contracts typically get the contracts in any event, these companies can more readily comply with the provisions of the act and have deeper pockets to handle the administrative and other requirements mandated by the act.

We also know that one study concluded that the Davis-Bacon Act will waste $10.9 billion in 2011. We also know that the Government Accountability Office states that this act is extremely difficult to administer, and the GAO has advocated for its repeal as [Page: H5056]

far back as 1979. To a certain degree, this amendment seeks to reduce that waste, but the most important aspect of this amendment is encouraging small business participation in these government building


I have stated before that we, as Members of Congress, we are stewards of the public Treasury. We have an obligation to spend taxpayer money wisely. The government does not earn money. The government does not generate wealth. We have an obligation to spend this money wisely, and we have an obligation to help the businesses of the country, and those that build our infrastructure need our help. This amendment addresses that need.

The Heritage Foundation suggests that for every billion dollars, Federal construction spending supports 14,000 workers. Then the savings from the suspension of the Davis-Bacon law for 1 year would support 163,000 new construction jobs.

My amendment addresses this very issue and seeks to boost employment and work for small businesses and small contractors who can compete for smaller government contracts temporarily if the Davis-Bacon requirements are defunded for 1 year.

I ask that you support this amendment, support small businesses, more efficient spending of our taxpayer money, spreading our limited resources and keeping more American construction workers in a job, a livelihood, and a mission to rebuild this America together.

I reserve the balance of my time.