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On behalf of over a million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to vote YES on amendment #273 to H.R. 1 the Full Year Continuing Appropriation Act that would prohibit any funds from being used to implement Davis-Bacon wage requirements. Since its enactment in 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act has amounted to a bad deal for taxpayers and small businesses. Repealing the Davis-Bacon Act would generate an estimated 31,000 new construction jobs and save taxpayers $60 billion over the next decade.
The Davis-Bacon Act requires that federal construction contractors pay their workers “prevailing wages.” Ever since 1979, the Government Accountability Office has recommended repealing the law since the “prevailing wage” requirement is so difficult to determine. This generally means that wages are set by government officials at inflated union rates which are an average of 22 percent higher than the standard wage rate in the area. Small businesses are often priced out of the competition since they cannot afford to pay these artificially inflated union wages. The complex rules associated with the Davis-Bacon Act have discouraged small businesses from bidding on public projects.
The sponsors of the original bill, Rep. Bacon (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Davis (R-Penn.), passed the Davis-Bacon Act in 1931 to restrict opportunities for African Americans in the construction industry. At the time, most African Americans were barred from joining major unions. Racist lawmakers and white-only unions were angry that non-unionized African American workers were migrating to the North to supposedly take away jobs from white construction workers. It is a disgrace that this racist Jim Crow law is still on the books.
The law has continued to disproportionally favor white, skilled and unionized workers over African American non-unionized workers. As economics Professor Walter Williams said “today’s supporters of the Davis-Bacon Act use different rhetoric, but its radically discriminatory effects are the same.” We must repeal the Davis-Bacon Act which is a reminder of our ugly past that squeezes non-union labor out of the market for federal construction jobs.
We will count your vote on Rep. King’s amendment #273 to H.R. 1 the Full Year Continuing Appropriation Act as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2011. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO
[Click here for a pdf version of this letter.]