Justice and Law Enforcement:
Comments on Amendments to H.R. 5540
B-206673, Jul 8, 1982
In response to a congressional request, GAO offered comments on one of the amendments to H.R. 5540 which applies Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage standards to the construction, repair, or alteration of any projects or equipment installation, funded by a guarantee, loan, or grant under amendments to the Defense Production Act. The amendments authorize the Secretary of Labor to fix minimum wages in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act and to perform other related functions. However, the enforcement provisions of the Act are not made applicable by the amendment. While in numerous instances Congress has extended the prevailing wage requirement to federally assisted construction, and there has been a tendency to say that these programs are covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, this characterization is incorrect, since no direct Federal contracts are involved, and neither the Act nor the enforcement provisions of the Act pertaining to GAO have been made applicable. Since the enforcement provisions of the Act which GAO is required to administer do not apply to federally assisted programs, GAO has not made any substantive ruling on provisions such as these. Installation of equipment has never been, to the knowledge of GAO, a separate basis for Davis-Bacon wage coverage, but has been covered only if the work required for the installation is incident to construction work. Under the immediate amendment, installation work which is not incident to construction would also be covered by the Act. The language of the amendment might also bring under protection employees of grantees and loan or aid recipients who might perform the work in-house. Under more traditional language, employees of grantees and aid recipients would not be covered. Clarifying the language in the amendment would dispel any doubt as to the intent of Congress with regard to the coverage.