Northern Valley Beacon

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Update: Under pressure, White House reverses itself on lower wages for Katrina rebuilders

Rep. George Miller explained today the strategy that kept the White House from exempting workers rebuilding after Katrina from wage requirements. See below.

In a move that angered laboring people, the White House backed off on a decision not to pay hurricane workers the prevailing wages in the Gulf states. The Washington Post reports:

The White House reversed course today and reinstated a key wage protection for workers doing Hurricane Katrina reconstruction, bowing to pressure from a group of moderate House Republicans who argued that local residents were being left out of the recovery and that the Gulf Coast was becoming a magnet for illegal immigrants.

The Bush administration had decided in the days after Katrina devastated the region to waive the Davis-Bacon Act, a Depression-era law that guarantees construction workers the prevailing local wage when they're being paid with federal tax dollars. At the time, the administration insisted the waiver on hurricane-related work would save the government money and speed recovery efforts.

Read Rep. George Miller's account of the legislative maneuvering that caused the reversal.

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