Graham rips Obama for advising employers not to notify workers of potential layoffs

“The WARN Act is crystal clear when it comes to defense contractors having to issue notices of impending layoffs as a result of sequestration,” Graham said in a press release Monday. “I hope defense contractors will follow the law and warn their employees about the devastating impact of sequestration.”

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The automatic spending cuts — sequestration — agreed to by Congress will take effect in January unless lawmakers act to replace the cuts. Republicans are most concerned about the cuts to defense spending. In total, $1.2 trillion will be cut, about half of which will come from defense spending. 

“Sequestration is the law of the land and clearly calls for devastating defense cuts,” Graham said. “The hundreds of thousands of workers affected by these cuts should be made aware immediately.”

Lawmakers are working on a deal to avoid the cuts, but some Democrats have made it clear that increasing revenue will be key to a deal. Republicans haven’t been open to raising taxes on the wealthiest.

The administration’s memorandum Friday offered to pay the legal fees and employee compensation under the WARN Act and restated the Labor Department's position from July that contractors should not issue written notices to employees because of the "uncertainty" over the upcoming cuts.

Graham said Obama used to be supportive of strengthening the WARN Act and is now playing politics for his reelection campaign.

“In 2007, Sen. Obama wanted to extend the WARN Act notices to 90 days, up from 60, to ensure workers were treated fairly. Now, President Obama is trying to suppress the issuance of WARN notices, which will hit mailboxes right before the election,” Graham said. “The Obama administration’s legal advice is dubious at best.

“This is typical Barack Obama politics — being supportive of the WARN Act when convenient and against it when it creates political downside.”