Trump’s infrastructure package to include wage protections

Trump’s infrastructure package to include wage protections

President Trump’s infrastructure bill is expected to include wage protections for federal workers — a provision key to winning Democratic support.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, speaking during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Thursday, indicated that the administration’s rebuilding package will contain wage requirements mandated by the Davis-Bacon Act.

The nearly century-old law requires employees working on federally funded construction projects to be paid prevailing wages.

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“The administration’s proposal is to include Davis-Bacon,” Chao told lawmakers. “For the infrastructure proposal, I’d like to see it passed, and I understand that without the provision, the minority would not sign on.”

During a New York Times interview in April, Trump promised an announcement on Davis-Bacon in “two weeks,” but it never came.

Democrats who are worried about efforts to diminish labor laws have promised to push for the requirements to be included in Trump’s infrastructure package.

“If [Trump’s infrastructure bill] targets unions or leaves Americans worse off, I will fight it every step of the way,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said during a builders conference in April. “And if it doesn’t include prevailing wages and protect Davis-Bacon, it’s a nonstarter — at least for me.”

But the GOP hasn’t always been enthusiastic about the idea, which they say drives up costs. House Republicans attached language to a water infrastructure bill last year to waive certain Davis-Bacon requirements.

And conservative groups recently laid out an infrastructure wish list that calls for repealing “draconian” labor regulations, which could set up a battle between Republicans and Democrats over the administration’s infrastructure effort.

“Heritage Foundation research shows that repealing Davis-Bacon and reinvesting the funds back into infrastructure would add over 160,000 construction jobs to the Economy,” the document says.