White House raises objections to union provision in military bill

The Obama administration says the use of these arrangements “can provide structure and stability to large construction projects,” according to the policy statement. “The coordination achieved through PLAs can significantly enhance the economy and efficiency of Federal construction projects.”

That wording is similar to a February 2009 executive order stating it was the administration's policy to encourage "executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects in order to promote economy and efficiency in federal procurement."

The House panel's language would prohibit future use of that order.

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“The vast majority of contractors and their employees — more than 80 percent — have voluntarily opted against unionization,” according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Because most contractors and employees choose to refrain from unionization when they have the free choice, Big Labor turned to politicians to remove that choice and impose union representation on employees from the top down.”

In an apparent shot across the committee’s bow, the White House added that it “strongly opposes inclusion of ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.”

If the provision is included in the final version of the legislation, the administration would oppose it — but the White House stopped short of threatening a veto.

The White House said it is “concerned” that the House Appropriations is proposing using incremental funding for a number of military construction projects.

“Incremental funding of military construction runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline,” according to the White State statement.

Defense officials typically oppose and seek to avoid incremental funding schemes. 

The White House also said it opposes a section of the legislation that “could be construed” to require the executive branch inform lawmakers of “certain military exercises” 30 days in advance “without discretion.”

If enacted, this language would “intrude on the president's discharge of his constitutional authorities and duties to protect national security,” according to the administration’s policy statement. 

In that section’s place, the White House would like Congress to “make explicit that 30 days advance notice to the Congress is required where feasible and consistent with the president's constitutional responsibilities to protect national security.”