One would think that all Republicans would realize that not only do labor unions want to destroy the economy; they want to destroy the Republican Party. Last night, while Scott Walker was launching his counteroffensive against the onslaught of Big Labor during the debate against Barrett, dozens of Republicans voted to reinstate special handouts to the labor bosses.
Late last night, the House passed the largely non-controversial Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations (MilCon) bill for FY 2013. But there were two amendments germane to labor policy that received roll call votes. We lost on both of them.
The first amendment, which was sponsored by Pro-Big Labor Michael Grimm (R-NY), stripped language from the MilCon bill prohibiting federal government construction contracts funded by the bill from requiring that only firms that enter into project labor agreements be considered for bidding on a contract. In 2009, Obama used his signature power grab tool; an Executive Order, forcing all private companies to sign a project labor agreement (PLA) in order to bid on federal construction projects. PLA’s compel the private contractor to use only unionized workers for the perspective project. This executive power grab is nothing more than an election payback to big labor, which would ostensibly purloin the taxpayer with forced collective bargaining for all public construction projects. This malevolent executive order would also discriminate against non-union workers. Keep in mind that only a small percentage of private sector construction workers are unionized.
When the MilCon bill was crafted in the Appropriations Committee, language was inserted to nullify this executive order and defund PLAs. Michael Grimm’s amendment stripped this provision, thereby upholding Obama’s union grab. Grimm prevailed as 34 Republicans joined with almost every Democrat to strike the pro-jobs provision. Score one for Big Labor. While only 34 Republicans supported the amendment, one must question why leadership approved the consideration of the amendment in the first place. After all, the bill was considered under a structured rule, and as such, they should have blocked any attempt to vitiate a provision passed out of committee. They do it all the time when there are conservative amendments to strip liberal provisions approved by the committee. Why is this different?
The other amendment was a free market initiative sponsored by Trent Franks (R-AZ). It would have barred the use of funds in the bill to enforce Davis Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements. Davis-Bacon mandates that federal government contractors pay prevailing union-level wages for work on federally funded projects. This law discriminates against non-union firms and costs taxpayers 22% for each project. The amendment was defeated as 52 Republicans joined with every Democrat to side with Big Labor against the taxpayers.
It’s incomprehensible why Republicans would want to offer handouts to those who bankroll the Democrat Party.
Here is a list of those who voted for Grimm’s PLA handouts to unions:
Here are the 52 Republicans who opposed defunding Davis-Bacon:
Update: I see that Congressman Huelskamp (R-KS) has retracted his vote for the PLA amendment in a statement in the Congressional record. Normally, we should be leery of such retractions, but it is clear that this was a mistake. Huelskamp voted the right way on a similiar amendment last year and has a near-perfect voting record. Here is his statement for the record:
On Roll Call Number 302, on the Grimm Amendment to H.R.5854, I inadvertently voted yes when I intended to vote no. I believe every worker should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they would like to join a union. Project Labor Agreements violate workers’ rights and inhibit business growth. No one should ever face compulsory membership in any group. Given our current fiscal situation, the last thing Congress should be doing is imposing more burdensome regulations on businesses and workers. I am proud that Kansas is a Right-to-Work state, and I am committed to promoting workers’ rights at the federal level.
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