ABC: Biden’s Proposed Davis-Bacon Act Reforms Are More Pork for Special Interests

Washington, March 11—Associated Builders and Contractors today released the following statement from Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, in reaction to the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations. The 1931 Davis-Bacon Act and related regulations require contractors and subcontractors that perform work on federal and federally funded construction projects to pay a government-determined prevailing wage and benefit rate on an hourly basis to on-site construction workers. The Davis-Bacon Act and 71 active related acts collectively apply to an estimated $217 billion in federal and federally assisted construction spending per year and provide government-determined wage rates for an estimated 1.2 million U.S. construction workers.

“The 91-year-old Davis-Bacon Act and related regulations are in dire need of modernization and clarity. For decades, watchdogs in the federal government have criticized the DOL’s convoluted method for determining prevailing wage and benefit rates through an outdated and unscientific survey process riddled with errors and inefficiencies.

“In its current form, Davis-Bacon needlessly raises taxpayer-funded construction costs, stifles job creation, undermines productivity and discourages competition from small businesses interested in pursuing federal and federally assisted construction projects. For years, ABC has called for reforms to confusing DOL compliance rules and enforcement policies which—coupled with a dysfunctional wage determination process—have resulted in a broken system.

“While ABC is still reviewing the 432-page rule, it appears the DOL missed an opportunity for meaningful Davis-Bacon reform. For example, the proposed rule reverts back to 1983 regulations that do not result in actual prevailing rates, as required by statute. Reversing course by 40 years is not modernization. Instead, it is even worse public policy catering to special interests embedded in the Biden administration that benefit from the broken status quo.

“Throughout the rulemaking process, ABC will continue to advocate for commonsense reforms to Davis-Bacon regulations that will provide clarity for the regulated community and create accurate and timely prevailing wages. This approach will encourage quality contractors and their skilled workforce to compete to rebuild their communities and give taxpayers the best value for investments in public works projects.”

ABC will encourage its members, industry stakeholders and taxpayers to suggest additional improvements to the Davis-Bacon Act regulations within the 60-day comment period deadline.

About ABC
Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at