Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday announced changes to labor rules that could give higher wages to construction workers on federal projects.

Harris will say in a speech in Philadelphia that the Labor Department has provided the first update in decades to the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, a law that requires the payment of prevailing local wages on public works.

The new rule is something of a return to the past in that it will use the definition of prevailing wage that the Labor Department previously used from 1935 to 1983, likely raising the hourly earnings of contractors and subcontractors.

More than 1 million construction workers with jobs on roughly $200 billion worth of federally supported projects will benefit, the Democratic vice president’s office said in an emailed statement.

The new rule “will mean thousands of extra dollars per year in workers’ pockets to help put a down payment on a home, save for retirement, or simply have more breathing room,” the statement said.

While workers would earn more money, critics such as the Associated Builders and Contractors say the new rule will make construction projects more expensive for taxpayers.

The measure would restore a definition of the “prevailing wage” scrapped by President Ronald Reagan that the Biden administration says would change pay standards on federal projects, the Washington Post reported. Under the new rule, employers would be required to pay workers the equivalent of wages made by at least 30 percent of workers in a given trade and locality, according to the report.

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