Judge Blocks Biden’s Construction Wage Rule

(LibertySons.org) – In August 2023, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a rule updating the Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts. This updated act put the department in charge of overseeing and enforcing labor standards for federal contracts. It also allowed the DOL to determine prevailing wages for contractors and subcontractors working on federal projects in Washington, DC, and extended that coverage to truck drivers and material suppliers. In November, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) sued.

The AGC claimed the administration had no right to amend the law. And on June 24, a federal judge agreed. US District Judge Sam Cummings in Texas temporarily blocked the rule stating construction contractors with federal contracts must pay workers prevailing wages. The federal judge agreed with the plaintiff, ruling that the administration lacked the power to impose prevailing wage requirements if agencies don’t include them or extend them to truck drivers who work on construction projects.

Cummings, a Reagan appointee, said it was unconstitutional to “unilaterally amend Acts of Congress to suit their policy choices.” He also said leaving the change in place would harm construction businesses and even price them out entirely from federal contracts in some cases.

The AGC released a statement after the ruling, celebrating the news. The association called it a significant legal victory. The association and its co-plaintiffs were worried about the DOL “expanding the scope of the rule” beyond Congress’ original intent. The Davis-Bacon Act was passed in 1931 when former President Herbert Hoover was in the White House. AGC CEO Jeffrey Shoaf said Cummings’ ruling returned the Davis-Bacon Act back to Congress’ intentions when the measure was passed nearly 100 years ago.

However, the DOL said modernizing the wage regulations was needed to match current laws and the economy. Unions and others supported the change because it would ensure workers fair pay.

The next steps for the administration are unclear.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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