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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act

The Alabama Republican delegation, led by Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), this morning submitted a letter to President Barack Obama requesting the temporary suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, to remove harmful and oppressive regulations from businesses attempting to rebuild in the wake of last month's devastating storms.

"This temporary suspension is very important to Alabama's recovery," said Congressman Brooks. "Our communities are hurting, and anything that the Federal government can do to minimize costly and unnecessary government mandates will help get our state back on the road to recovery. Failure to enact a temporary suspension will be costly, delay rebuilding efforts, and unnecessarily prolong the recovery period for Alabama."

"In the wake of the recent storms that swept through Alabama and the Southeast, suspending the Davis-Bacon is critical to the recovery process," said Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04). "A temporary suspension would mitigate some of the costly and time consuming bureaucratic burdens that will only further delay our state's recovery."

The letter is supported by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL), Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL), and Congressman Martha Roby (R-AL). President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1934, set the precedent for temporarily suspending the Davis-Bacon Act. Past Presidents have also suspended the Davis-Bacon Act following natural disasters, such as when President George H. W. Bush did so after Hurricane Andrew in 1993 and President George W. Bush did so after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Below is a text of the letter.

May 16, 2011

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to respectfully request that you temporarily suspend the Davis-Bacon Act to aid in the recovery and reconstruction of Alabama after the deadly tornadoes on April 27, 2011.

In response to what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is calling the largest tornado event in history, you have already declared all 67 Alabama counties as eligible for Public Assistance and 42 Alabama counties as eligible for Individual Assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Association. We request that you further aid the victims of this disaster by issuing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend the enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act.

The Alabama Insurance Commissioner, Jim Ridling, stated that the cost of tornado and storm damage in Alabama could approach $2 billion. In a time of economic uncertainty, the residents of Alabama face formidable obstacles to rebuilding their homes, businesses and communities. We believe that suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act would lower construction costs, permit contracts to be awarded more rapidly and effectively, and dramatically improve the efficiency of rebuilding efforts.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1934, set the precedent for temporarily suspending the Davis-Bacon Act. Past Presidents have also suspended the Davis-Bacon Act following natural disasters, such as when President George H. W. Bush did so after Hurricane Andrew in 1993 and President George W. Bush did so after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Following historical precedent and suspending the Davis-Bacon Act again in the state of Alabama will significantly contribute to the full recovery of those communities affected by this disaster. Failure to offer this temporary relief will result in unnecessary cost and delay to the rebuilding efforts and unnecessarily prolong the recovery period for Alabama.

Thank you for your time and consideration to this request. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Senator Richard Shelby
Senator Jeff Sessions
Representative Mo Brooks
Representative Spencer Bachus
Representative Robert Aderholt
Representative Jo Bonner
Representative Mike Rogers
Representative Martha Roby


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