Republican Congress Moves To Lower Workers’ Wages
Republicans came into power in January of 2017 with the promise that they would make the lives of working Americans easier. Just weeks later, they’re already breaking that promise.
This week, Republicans in both houses of Congress have introduced legislation that will, when it is signed into law by Donald Trump, reduce the wages that Americans get for a hard day’s work.
Congressman Steve King of Iowa and Senator Mike Lee of Utah collaborated to introduce identical pieces of legislation, H.R. 743 and S. 244, to destroy the fair wage requirement of the Davis-Bacon Act.
The fair wage provision of the Davis-Bacon Act states that when government contractors paid by federal funds employ people to build, renovate, or repair public buildings, they must pay workers at least at the level of prevailing wages for their jobs in the location where the construction is taking place. This law ensures that federal construction projects do not drive down workers’ wages, so that everyone working in construction can be fairly paid.
The Republican bills introduced by King and Lee would allow federally-employed contractors to pay dirt cheap wages. The impact of this legislation won’t be just to lower the wages of people working on federal contracts. Lower wages on federal contracts will reduce competitive pressures throughout the labor market, resulting in lower wages for workers in the private sector as well. This effect would ripple out through the economy, driving down the pay that workers get across several industries and slowing down the economy in general.
Why would the Republicans in Congress introduce such economically-destructive bills?
Although destroying the Davis-Bacon fair wage requirement would harm working Americans, it would help the wealthy investment classes who make money by skimming profits off of the work done by others.
These new Republican bills would increase economic inequality in the United States, further concentrating wealth in the hands of millionaires and billionaires.