PSC: Don’t Be Fooled, “Fair Pay” Exec. Order Is Unnecessary
Arlington, Va., April 27, 2016—The Professional Services Council (PSC) strongly supports an amendment to be offered in the House Armed Services Committee to exempt DoD from the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order. Proponents of the Executive Order are grossly understating fundamental flaws of the Executive Order while unfairly accusing critics of condoning wrongdoing.
PSC has long opposed Executive Order 13673 (EO) and is pleased to see that members of the House Armed Services Committee recognize its significant shortcomings and the detrimental impacts it would have on the Department of Defense if implemented. Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee Rep. John Kline, who also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, has an amendment to be considered during today’s Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act that would exempt DoD from implementing or complying with the Executive Order. Its goal is to encourage the administration to develop a more workable solution to the issues.
As currently written, the Executive Order falsely presumes that there is little or no oversight of contractors’ compliance with labor laws, and it forces contractors into an enforcement role that properly belongs to the government. “Such presumptions are fundamentally flawed,” said PSC President and CEO David J. Berteau.
“The Department of Labor already has broad authority to enforce federal labor laws, impose penalties on contractors that violate such laws, and even initiate suspension and debarment proceedings against such contractors,” Berteau said. “Because of this existing structure, the government already can readily ensure it contracts only with ‘presently responsible’ companies. The EO ignores these processes and creates a broad new compliance and reporting regime that unnecessarily shifts the burden to industry at great expense in time and money with no demonstrated benefit.”
The Executive Order creates unproductive complexity by requiring prime contractors to collect labor law compliance information from its subcontractors, including allegations, when submitting a proposal for a contract and every six months after an award. The costs associated with these efforts are incalculable, which PSC noted in its comments on the implementing proposed rules. A better, cheaper, and faster approach is for the government to fix problems with their existing processes and data to enforce contractors’ and subcontractors’ labor law compliance.
“Ultimately, implementing the requirements of the EO will slow the DoD acquisition process and harm the Department’s ability to meet its missions,” added Berteau. “The requirement for a single labor compliance advisor within DoD is simply unworkable. That person would have to serve over 24,000 contracting officers across the department to sort through minor, or even allegations of, labor law violations. When Congress is properly trying to get critical capabilities to the warfighter more quickly, it makes no sense to needlessly slow that process through these burdensome requirements.”
About PSC: PSC is the voice of the government technology and professional services industry. PSC’s nearly 400 member companies represent small, medium and large businesses that provide federal agencies with services of all kinds, including information technology, engineering, logistics, facilities management, operations and maintenance, consulting, international development, scientific, social, environmental services, and more. Together, the trade association’s members employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states. Follow PSC on Twitter @PSCSpeaks.
Sr. Manager, Public Policy
Professional Services Council