1. On July 11, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he is canceling half of the Senate’s traditional August recess.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This important announcement demonstrates the realization that the Senate must commit to complete its backlog of unfinished official business. Leader McConnell said in a statement to the press, “Once the Senate completes its work on health care reform, we will turn to other important issues including the National Defense Authorization Act and the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats.” The House is not expected to cancel or delay its recess, but GOP leadership said they would call Congress back into session if the Senate passes a healthcare bill in August. The August recess is a long-standing tradition that became mandated by a 1970 law, the Legislative Reorganization Act.
2. Officials from the General Services Administration announced that the planned move of the FBI headquarters to suburban Washington D.C. has been canceled. The initial plan was for the Federal government to sell the FBI’s Hoover Building to a real estate developer and receive $2 billion in taxpayer funds from Congress to cover the remaining cost.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The cancelation of the planned federal project is a discouraging setback for Federal construction projects. The FBI Hoover Building, according to the General Accountability Office (GAO), is just one of the 903 federal buildings that are in dire need of repair and alteration. NECA will continue to urge Members of Congress to provide funds to modernize the Federal building portfolio.
3. In a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) has attempted to degrade the prevailing wage protections offered by the Davis Bacon Act. The amendment calls for the shifting of prevailing wage calculation from the Hour and Wage Division of the Department of Labor to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the name makes some believe this an appropriate shift, the methodology utilized by the BLS will amount to a drastic miscalculation of the prevailing wage. The BLS method fails for a number of reasons, most notably, it does not account for the variance in wages across different types of construction nor does it account for the fluctuation of wages from job site to managerial locations. These, among multiple other characteristics, make the BLS determination of the prevailing wage a detrimental proposal to the electrical construction industry.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA has strongly urged members of Congress to vote against amendment number 111 to the National Defense Authorization Act. NECA is proud to announce that the first attempt to damage the Davis Bacon act this Congress was defeated in a 242-183 vote.