by Trapper John
Man, things are tough all over for the Bushies. Indictments, an unending river of blood from Iraq, indictments, SEC investigations, indictments, complete failure of Social Security privatization, indictments, a Supreme Court nominee with a long face not unlike that of Caligula's horse, indictments -- and now, party discipline is falling apart to the degree that Bush can't even achieve the undisputed Republican Prime Objective -- exploiting American workers:
Bowing to pressure from a united Democratic front, a small group of members of his own party, the religious community, and the labor movement, President Bush announced today he would reverse the decision he made in September to remove wage protections for construction workers in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
After Katrina, the President suspended the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal contractors to pay at least the prevailing wage to construction workers in a local area. The president’s action, which was widely denounced, followed requests from right-wing activists and Republican members of Congress who exploited Katrina to achieve a long-sought ideological agenda item.
Representative George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, led the effort in the House to force Bush to rescind his Gulf Coast wage cut.
“President Bush finally realized that his Gulf Coast wage cut was a bad idea that hurt the workers and their families affected by Katrina,” said Miller. “But let me be clear – the President is backing down today only because he had no other choice.
“The President’s wage cut was just another example of his incompetence as a leader in a time of crisis and of his constant need reward the private agenda’s of his special special-interest friends rather than attend to the needs of all the people affected by this storm.”
The President’s wage cut was facing a congressional showdown as early as next week because of a Joint Resolution Miller recently introduced that would have forced the House to vote by early November on whether or not to allow the wage cut to stand. Miller said that Democratic action – coupled with pressure from some members of the President’s own party – left the President no option but to reverse his own mistake.
This is huge. Not only did the suspension of Davis-Bacon undercut already low prevailing wages for Gulf Coast workers, but it also eliminated the requirement for federal contractors to file certified payroll records -- meaning that Haliburton, Fluor, Bechtel, and other fave GOP contributors would have untold opportunities for waste, fraud, and abuse. (Just like those fine folks at Unisys, who just "overbilled the [TSA] for as much as 171,000 hours of labor and overtime" -- in part, probably, because they had no certified payroll requirements.) The justifiably proud Representative Miller, who, along with some savvy work from the AFL-CIO's political department, brought 38 Republicans firmly on board against Bush's inhumane move, has a "Timeline of a Presidential Retreat" posted on his committee's website.
About 50 weeks ago, George W. Bush was bragging about how he was gonna use all that political capital to get his agenda through. How different are things today? If you're a second-term Republican president, you know that you're in trouble when you can't even help out your profiteering friends at Haliburton and fuck over workers. If you're not capable of that most basic of GOP obligations, what can you do right?