Annie Mecias-Murphy, co-owner and president of Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based JA&M Developing Corp. and a member of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure.
During the June 10 testimony, Mecias-Murphy discussed the negative impacts that the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan would have on small business contractors.
Mecias-Murphy testified on behalf of ABC and serves on the board of directors for the association’s Florida East Coast Chapter. In her testimony, she urged Congress to invest in America’s infrastructure, ensure that small construction businesses are not excluded from the competitive bidding process for federal infrastructure projects and expand workforce development opportunities in the construction industry.
But Mecias-Murphy said she appreciates a commitment to infrastructure improvements, she is concerned that the funding directed toward the construction of critical infrastructure under the president’s American Jobs Plan is limited and contains restrictive policies that could inhibit small businesses from bidding on these projects.
“It is because of the construction industry that I am able to be here to share my story with you today. I was born to immigrant parents who chose to flee religious and political persecution by the Cuban government just 90 miles south of Florida,” said Mecias-Murphy. “When my father came to this country in 1969, he entered the construction workforce with nothing except the clothes on his back. Construction was part of our daily lives while I was growing up.”
“The construction industry is fueled by small businesses; in fact, 99% of United States construction firms employ fewer than 100 workers,” said Mecias-Murphy. “Improvements to infrastructure can play a huge role in enhancing the opportunities for small businesses like ours to be able to bid so that we may win work and diversify our experience. These types of projects are critical for the future livelihood of small business in the construction industry.”
Mecias-Murphy explained that Congress must avoid enacting partisan, restrictive policies referenced in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan such as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, government-mandated project labor agreements and a one-size-fits-all approach to workforce development.
ABC said the inclusion of these policies and others like them would significantly limit the success of any potential infrastructure bill, as they would prevent qualified, merit shop contractors and their skilled and diverse workforce from participating in rebuilding their communities.