In April, we wrote about how President Trump’s estimated $1 trillion infrastructure plan may come with possible repeal or suspension of the Davis Bacon Act (DBA). A few months later, and the Trump Administration seems to be singing a different tune. More recently, comments from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao suggest that the administration’s rebuilding package will maintain wage requirements mandated by the DBA.
At a June 8, 2017, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, Secretary Chao answered questions related primarily to proposed plans to update the nation’s airports and corresponding changes to the Federal Aviation Administration. When Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) inquired about raising the monetary threshold for the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, Secretary Chao responded that for the “infrastructure projects … the administration’s proposal is to include Davis-Bacon.” The Secretary added she would “like to see it passed,” and understood “that without the provision, the minority would not sign on.” When Rep. Perry pushed further, asking “no changes at all?” Secretary Chao simply responded “I’m interested in getting the infrastructure bill passed.” As mentioned in the previous article, Trump may choose to include DBA protections in order to gain support from typically pro-DBA Democrats for the administration’s infrastructure plan.
While Trump made a number of veiled comments surrounding his infrastructure plan during what the White House termed “Infrastructure Week,” federal contractors are still standing by waiting to see which (if any) of the DBA requirements will survive.