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.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.