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October 27, 2005
Bush Reinstates Prevailing Wages in Areas Affected by Katrina

President Bush has reinstated the prevailing wages provisions of Davis-Bacon Act in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The reinstatement is effective November 8, 2005.

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The Davis-Bacon Act requires contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal contracts to pay their laborers and mechanics prevailing wages plus the value of prevailing employee benefits.

After Hurricane Katrina, Bush suspended the act for the rebuilding effort on the Gulf Coast, saying he wanted to remove federal red tape that he said would slow the recovery process.

Critics say the suspension of the provisions covering prevailing wages allowed employers to exploit the situation, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

"There are thousands of skilled Gulf Coast workers who should be working to rebuild their communities, and it sickens me that companies are passing them by and hiring cheap unskilled illegal workers to beef up their bottom line," Rep. Steve LaTourette of Concord Township, Ohio, tells the newspaper.

The newspaper notes that many members of Congress, including some Republicans, urged Bush to reinstate the rules.

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