Judge Pours Cold Water on Biden’s New Rule

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

(ConservativeFreePress.com) – A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s rule to pay construction workers prevailing wages.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings in Lubbock, Texas, ruled that the Labor Department didn’t have the power to impose prevailing wage requirements when they hadn’t been explicitly included in government contracts and could not extend those requirements to truck drivers working on construction sites.

In his ruling, Cummings wrote that “Presidents and their agencies… do violence to the Constitution” in attempting to “unilaterally amend Acts of Congress” in favor of their “policy choices.”

He blocked enforcing the rule that had taken effect last October, pending the outcome of a lawsuit the Associated General Contractors of America brought against the Labor Department.

Biden’s New Deal-era law tasked the Department of Labor with establishing the wage floors for workers on federally funded construction products.

The Biden administration rule restored a technique for calculating wage floors, which excludes lower-paid workers from the calculation, leading to higher wage floors. The Reagan administration abandoned that method in the 1980s.

The rule made prevailing wage standards the “operation of law,” which meant they would always be in effect regardless of whether agencies included the policy in contracts. The rule also expanded the definition of “mechanics and laborers” to include truck drivers making deliveries to construction sites.

In November, the Associated General Contractors challenged the aforementioned provisions, noting the Department of Labor didn’t have the power to set prevailing wages.

On Monday, Cummings agreed, stating the rule would have irreparable consequences for construction companies, including pricing many of them out of federal contracts.

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