Katrina: Bush boosts reconstruction boodlers, GOP squeezes bankrupts

The president has suspended prevailing wage rule for Katrina rebuilding contractors:

Some Houstonians who plan on moving to Louisiana and points east to get work in the Katrina rebuilding effort may discover their wages won't be as high as they might have expected. That's because President Bush signed an executive order last week rescinding the rule [under the Davis-Bacon Act] that contractors on projects receiving federal money pay the prevailing wage in areas damaged by the hurricane.

--Houston Chronicle, L.M. Sixel

And he wants to suspend prevailing wage rules for service workers, too:

But the Bush folks face a problem in suspending the Service Contract Act. Davis-Bacon has a specific provision allowing the President to suspend it during a national emergency. The Service Contract Act does not, and its suspension may be unprecedented, labor experts say.

--TPM Cafe, Nathan Newman

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner has quashed a proposed bankruptcy bill moratorium for Katrina victims:

The new, more stringent bankruptcy law will not harm people left "down and out" by the storm, Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner said. He said he would not hold a hearing in his committee on a bill by the panel's ranking Democrat, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, and 31 other Democrats who want to exempt Hurricane Katrina victims from parts of the new bankruptcy law. A chairman's decision not to hold a hearing usually prevents a House bill from advancing.


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