Senators challenge administration on layoff advice

Sen. Kelly AyotteTwo Republican senators are asking Obama administration officials to provide legal justification for committing the government to pay federal contractors’ legal fees that could arise from not sending out layoff notices to employees in the wake of sequestration.

“We are concerned about the authority of the executive branch to instruct private employers not to comply with federal law and to promise to pay the monetary judgments and litigation costs that arise out of the lawsuits that may follow,” Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) wrote Oct. 1 in a letter to Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffery Zients.

Sen. Charles Grassley

In a memo released Sept. 28, OMB told federal contractors to not send out employee layoff notices as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. OMB promised to pay WARN Act liabilities, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs, if sequestration takes effect Jan. 2.  (Read the memo here.)

The senators want to know how the Obama administration concluded that it did not need congressional approval before committing to pay judgments, settlements and attorney’s fees. They also want to know how much OMB expects it would pay out to cover the costs and from what fund would officials take the money.

Grassley and Ayotte asked OMB to respond by Oct. 8.

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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Tue, Oct 23, 2012

If you want to impeach the President, you should also get rid of all the Senators and Congressmen who do not have the gall to make things happen or are willing to really make it better for all Americans instead of just the few. You have to have some balls, excuse the pun but you have to call it like you see it.

Thu, Oct 18, 2012

You know get rid of all this life time money for Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, and the admin staff you would save billions of dollars and waste. Make them go to 401k like everyone else, and see how they actually try to save money instead of wasting ours. They are just like kids if they do not have to earn it they don't know the value of it. We need to put them to work just like the rest of us. What you put aside is what you get in retirement, not you salary for life, that goes for Judges too.

Tue, Oct 9, 2012

I say the funds come from the paychecks of the ones making the statement and if that isn't enough then from their management.

Mon, Oct 8, 2012 Give me liberty America

This is just more of the same from this administration. They refuse to enforce law they do not agree with (DoMA), break the law and then hide behind Executive Privilege (Fast & Furious), act as if failed legislation they like had actually passed (DREAM Act) and provide taxpayer funding to failing companies owned by major Democrat donors (Solyndra, Amonix, Tesla Motors, etc). Obama and his cronies are doing their damnedest to turn this country into a Banana Republic where corruption and cronyism reign.

Fri, Oct 5, 2012 Steve U

DIdn't the President take an oath to 'uphold the constitution and laws of the United States'? How can he then "instruct private employers not to comply with federal law"?

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