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Hillsdale Daily News: Walberg gets bill signed into law helping contracted workers

December 3, 2013
Opinion Editorial

By Matt Durr

WASHINGTON — There isn't much that Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) and President Barack Obama agree on these days, but the two were able to agree Thursday on a bipartisan bill which Obama signed into law. The Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act was introduced by Walberg and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) to help shift responsibility for wage adjustments for federally-contracted workers.

The two congressmen serve on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections where Walberg is the chairman and wrote the bill in an effort to streamline the process in which contracted workers get paid.

"I want to thank the president for his support of this commonsense, bipartisan proposal," Walberg said in a press release. "By working together we've provided greater efficiency within the federal government. Just as important, we've helped ensure workers employed by federal contractors receive the pay they've earned in a more timely manner. I hope we can build on this success and discuss additional reforms that will serve the best interests of the nation's workers and taxpayers."

Under the Davis-Bacon Act, federally-contracted workers are required to be paid a "local prevailing wage," on any government project. They are also to be paid time and a half for work done after working 40 hours in a week. However the claims for those wages were handled through the Government Accountability Office, while the Department of Labor (DOL) enforced the law.

With the passing of this new law, the DOL will handle all claims and it should help make the process smoother for workers trying to get their compensation. The bill was first introduced by Walberg in July and passed by the House in September. The Senate passed the bill earlier this month, and Obama signed it into law Thursday.

"I am pleased to see that President Obama has signed this commonsense bill that improves efficiency and streamlines the claims process for workers," Courtney said. "Once enacted, this law will enable federal workers to get the pay that is owed to them in a timely fashion. I want to thank Chairman Walberg for his efforts on this issue, and I look forward to finding additional common ground to enhance protections for America's workers."

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