This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, which impose requirements regarding drinking water quality and wastewater treatment in rural areas. Approximately 27% of the U.S. population lives in areas defined by the Census Bureau as rural. Many rural communities need to complete water and waste disposal projects to improve the public health and environmental conditions of their citizens.
This report examines policy issues the Davis-Bacon Act has sparked through the years and which remain a part of the Davis-Bacon debate of the 1990s. These include such questions as: wage rate determination procedures, reporting requirements under the Copeland Act, an appropriate threshold for activation of the statute, interagency relationships with respect to Davis-Bacon enforcement and compliance activity, administrative or judicial appeals procedures, the use of "helpers" and other low-skilled workers on covered projects, and the right of a President to suspend the statute as well as the conditions under which such a suspension may occur. That the fundamental premise of the Act remains in contention after 60 years may be, itself, part of the public policy debate.