GOP’s Lamar Alexander, catering to right, tries axing Davis-Bacon

WASHINGTON (PAI) – In an obvious bid to cater to the radical right, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., top Republican on the panel that handles workers’ issues, launched a bid to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. Though Alexander’s bill, unveiled July 17, will go nowhere in Congress, it precedes the August Tennessee primary, where he faces a right-wing challenger.

Davis-Bacon says contractors undertaking federal work must pay locally prevailing wages, set by the Labor Department, to their workers. That prevents anti-worker contractors from winning bids by low-balling their workers, paying rock-bottom wages with no benefits.

Like other Republicans, Alexander, an ex-governor once known for good sense, insults Davis-Bacon as “a handout to labor unions.”  The GOP insinuates that prevailing wages are union wages nationwide.  Other right-wingers – including several tea party’ers – also back repeal: Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, R-Texas, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and David Vitter, R-La.

Photo: Lamar Alexander. Mark Humphrey/AP


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.