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Republicans Urge Suspension of Davis-Bacon Wage Act for Katrina Recovery

Friday, 09 September 2005 12:00 AM

"We must look for ways to pay for this enormous undertaking and suspending the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act during the initial reconstruction effort is a good place to start." The president can suspend the Davis-Bacon Act's requirements in the event of a national emergency.

President Nixon suspended it to curb the upward spiral in construction wages during an inflationary period, and President George H.W. Bush suspended the Act after Hurricane Andrew.

GOP Reps. Tom Feeney (Fla.), Marilyn Musgrave (Colo.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) sent a letter to President Bush, co-signed by 32 House conservatives, calling for the suspension of Davis-Bacon. The letter reads in part:

"With the recent devastation of New Orleans and Mississippi caused by Hurricane Katrina, there is no doubt that the United States is in a state of national emergency ...

"As you know, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 mandates that a prevailing wage be paid on all federally financed or assisted construction. Additionally, the Act requires that wage information be provided to contractors ten days before bidding on projects begins.

"The Government Accountability Office has reported that there is often a delay of two weeks between the time when Department of Labor issues rates and local officials receive them. Meanwhile, construction projects cannot begin until the new rates are received.

"Furthermore, Davis-Bacon regulations effectively discriminate against contractor employment of non-union and lower-skilled workers and can even raise total construction costs by up to 38 percent.

"It is evident that decisive government action is needed now to protect the public interest during the extended rebuilding period ahead … "Faced with the massive rebuilding challenges ahead, we respectfully urge you to make a presidential proclamation to suspend Davis-Bacon until our country is once again whole."

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"We must look for ways to pay for this enormous undertaking and suspending the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act during the initial reconstruction effort is a good place to start." The president can suspend the Davis-Bacon Act's requirements in the event...
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2005-00-09
Friday, 09 September 2005 12:00 AM
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