Collecting Debts On Government Work by Jeffrey G. Gilmore & Karen E. Harrison We have previously discussed mechanic's-lien remedies available to subcontractors and suppliers on private construction projects. These are statutory remedies available under state law that allow claimants a security interest in the property that has benefited from their work and materials. Mechanic's liens cannot, however, attach to real estate that is owned by either the federal government or many state governments. To address this problem, Congress enacted the Miller Act in 1935. The Act requires that prime contractors for federal construction projects that exceed $25,000 in value furnish the government with a performance and payment bond. The payment bond must be executed by a surety company. Subcontractors and suppliers have a right to