|Minority Views for Military Construction, VA Appropriations for FY12|
MINORITY VIEWS OF MR. DICKS AND MR. BISHOP
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, FY2012
The Fiscal Year 2012 Military Construction, Veterans' Administration and Related Agencies appropriations bill sufficiently funds critical military construction, family housing and quality of life improvements for our brave men and women in uniform and their families. The Committee fully funded the Administration's request for critical military construction, which includes the construction/replacement of Department of Defense Education Activity schools. A total of 15 schools, six schools in the United States and nine schools at overseas installations will be refurbished with this funding. In addition the bill also provides funding for the Medical Center Replacement in Germany where a large proportion of serious casualties from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters are treated. We are pleased to see that the bill is making this important investment.
This bill also provides adequate funding for VA programs such as medical care and the National Cemetery Administration. Also included for VA programs is funding to address potential hazardous seismic, life safety and infrastructure issues at VA facilities to deliver quality care. There is no greater way to honor the volunteers who serve our country than to make sure that they have the best medical care and facilities with which to treat them.
The Administration's request for our nation's cemeteries and battle monuments to honor those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation is also funded.
Unfortunately, the Committee adopted an amendment to eliminate funding to implement Executive Order 13502, issued in February 2009, which addresses Project Labor Agreements (PLA). The order encourages executive agencies to consider the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects in order "to promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement." Executive Order 13502 does not mandate use of a PLA but simply encourages federal officials to consider whether a PLA is the most appropriate labor agreement for a particular construction project.
Importantly, the Executive Order requires any PLA to contain certain requirements aimed at ensuring federal contracts are awarded fairly and openly. Among other things, it provides for an open competition for all contracts and subcontracts; contains guarantees against strikes, lockouts, and similar job disruptions; provides binding procedures for resolving labor disputes and encourages cooperation on productivity and health and safety issues. This important rule benefits both the labor force and management.
It is surprising that the Committee adopted an amendment that opposes economy in federal procurement, open competition, and guarantees against strikes and job disruptions.
While the Fiscal Year 2012 Military Construction, Veterans' Administration and Related Agencies appropriations bill meets the needs of our military and veterans' communities for the coming year, we continue to oppose the language prohibiting the use of funds to encourage economy and efficiency in federal procurement.