Multiple Budget Functions
Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act
CBO periodically issues a compendium of policy options (called Options for Reducing the Deficit) covering a broad range of issues, as well as separate reports that include options for changing federal tax and spending policies in particular areas. This option appears in one of those publications. The options are derived from many sources and reflect a range of possibilities. For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget but makes no recommendations. Inclusion or exclusion of any particular option does not imply an endorsement or rejection by CBO.
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The Davis-Bacon Act requires that workers on all federally funded or federally assisted construction projects whose contracts total more than $2,000 be paid no less than the prevailing wages in the area where the project is located. In 2020, about half of all federal or federally financed construction was funded through the Department of Transportation.
This option would repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which would lower the federal government’s costs for construction; the option would make corresponding reductions in appropriations and in limits on the government’s authority to enter into obligations for certain transportation programs to reflect those lower costs. Most of the spending for federal or federally financed construction is discretionary, but this option would also have a small effect on mandatory outlays.