Republicans Remind the White House They Still Want to Know More About Biden’s Labor Policies for Contractors
President Biden issued an executive order last year requiring project labor agreements for federal construction work.
House Republicans alerted the White House on Tuesday they are continuing their oversight of President Biden’s executive order on project labor agreements for federal construction work and are still seeking a briefing on it.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee sent a letter to the heads of the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and Office of Federal Procurement Policy regarding an executive order the president issued in February 2022 that requires project labor agreements, which are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements, on federal construction contracts starting at $35 million, with some exceptions. The White House said this would promote workers’ rights and efficiency.
“This order threatens to raise taxpayer costs, cut non-union workers out of federal projects, and force right-to-work states to freeze local workers out of cooperative federal projects,” the letter from the Republicans stated. The Biden administration did not provide a briefing on the executive order, despite a request in June 2022, the letter said. Rather, the administration “treated committee Republicans’ request letter as a public comment,” the GOP lawmakers said, citing a letter they received from OIRA Administrator Richard Revesz in March.
The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council issued the proposed rule to implement the order in August 2022 and the comment period closed in October 2022. Biden’s order is similar to one issued by President Obama in 2009. Revesz wrote in his letter that the rule is in the process of being finalized.
The lawmakers asked for a staff briefing by May 31 on their concerns about the rule. They also asked for various documents on any analysis and communications related to the crafting of the proposed or draft final rule.
The White House declined to comment on the letter.
In 2021 and 2023, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., along with other Republicans, introduced a bill to prevent the federal government from mandating project labor agreements. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, also introduced this bill in February, taking aim directly at the Biden administration.
The executive order was part of the Biden administration’s push to be the most pro-union administration in history. In March, the White House touted early progress boosting union membership in the public and private sectors. Also, administration officials announced in January that the major federal agencies will be required to designate employees to serve as labor advisers to oversee contractors, including the project labor agreements requirement.