Construction and business groups are going on record in opposition to a proposal by the Department of Agriculture in the form of an amendment to the existing Agriculture Acquisition Regulation act.
That amendment, if enacted, will require contractors to report any labor law violations, including those that may be committed by subcontractors and suppliers.
The amendment also would require that contractors must document and report any implemented measures designed to correct labor law violations.
In a statement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the Agriculture Department “provides no specific authority” pertaining to the amendment, adding that the proposal has not been accompanied by any discussion or analysis regarding the “impact and burden these new requirements will impose.”
Officially responding to the Department of Agriculture proposal, the Associated Builders and Contractors said it supports a “level and transparent playing field for federal contractors and believes bad firms should be held accountable.”
But the association added that the proposed amendment is “over broad, arbitrary and capricious, and violates the statutory and constitutional rights of responsible ethical contractors.”
In proposing the amendment, the Agriculture Department said it hoped to align the Agriculture Acquisition Regulation with “changes to acquisition law, regulations, and internal USDA policies since the AGAR’s last major revision in 1996.”
When and if the Agriculture Department implements the amendment is not known. But in an analysis of the proposal itself, the National Law Review is predicting: “One can expect legal challenges if the rule is eventually finalized.”
By Garry Boulard
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