|Life under the Emergency Administration
||[25 Sep 2005|09:31pm]
Sad to see that the GOP sticks to their agenda above all else.
President Bush's reconstruction package for the Gulf Coast region devastated
by Hurricane Katrina includes nearly $500 million for vouchers that children
can use at private schools anywhere in the nation. And Bush declared a
"national emergency" to waive the prevailing wage law during the cleanup,
freeing contractors to pay construction workers as little as minimum wage,
rather than the $8 to $10 prevailing wages in Louisiana, Alabama, and
Mississippi...The Bush administration has lifted the requirement that
contractors have affirmative-action plans, is seeking to weaken clean-air
standards in the Gulf region, and has shelved rules governing the number of
hours truckers can work. Republicans in Congress have proposed allowing the
EPA to waive all environmental regulations during the
rebuilding...Republicans want to pay for at least a portion of the cleanup
costs by cutting social programs such as Medicaid...Last week, House
Democrats obtained draft legislation being crafted by the Bush
administration that would permanently empower the EPA to waive any regulation
in the Clean Air Act whenever the agency finds that "emergency conditions"
(from the Boston Globe, 2005 September 25)
We shouldn't address a disaster by expanding the collateral damage radius of
These laws exist precisely to provide a floor, so that when times get tough, we
have a certain guaranteed level of protection for the environment, including
the people who live in it. It hurts to see all that go out the window via
Our system is supposed to provide checks and balances. Is there any kind of
check that could be used to stop these moves?
Or is it that we live in a democratic republic --- until something goes wrong.