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House passes defense authorization bill barring federal agencies from requiring contractors to use PLAs

On Friday, May 18, the House of Representatives approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. In so doing, the House approved an amendment to the legislation, H. Amdt. 1106, that would bar federal agencies from requiring contractors to sign project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning a federal bid for military construction and housing projects. The House approved the amendment on Thursday May 17, in a tight 211-209 vote.

Under the legislation, the secretary of defense and the secretaries of the military departments could neither require nor prohibit bidders, contractors, or subcontractors to enter into or adhere to PLAs and would also be prohibited from discriminating against any bidder who refused to enter into a PLA. The amendment would not be retroactive.

The legislation is clearly intended to thwart President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which declared that it was the policy of the federal government to urge federal agencies to consider using PLAs in connection with “large-scale construction projects.”

The Senate has, as of yet, taken no action on its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

Source: WKL&B Editorial Staff