GOP attacks Obama for WARN Act memo as defense cuts loom - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

GOP attacks Obama for WARN Act memo as defense cuts loom

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Congressman Mo Brooks said the President is breaking the law because the WARN Act was passed by Congress. Congressman Mo Brooks said the President is breaking the law because the WARN Act was passed by Congress.
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MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The Obama administration is facing some tough questions over a memo about the WARN Act.

Since 1988, the act has required that companies give employees 60 days notice before large scale lay-offs or terminations. The goal is to let workers plan to find new jobs before they're let go. Companies who don't comply with the law face stiff fines.

Last week, the White House issued a memo to some defense contractors telling them not to send out notifications to employees based on uncertainty. The Obama administration says that next year's defense budget is still in flux, and sending layoff notices might be premature.

However, some Republicans say the president is playing politics with the WARN Act, and that might be illegal.

Election Day is 57 days before sequestration-or automatic budget cuts-come on January 2, 2013. That means workers in the defense industry would get those 60 day notices three days before going to the polls.

Sequestration will mean $500-billion in defense budget cuts if no resolutions can be made. Sequestration would be triggered because Congress could not get a budget passed.

Alabama 5th District Congressman Mo Brooks said the President is breaking the law because the WARN Act was passed by Congress, and if there are any changes to be made, Congress has to do it.

"The White House opinion on has no weight of law when you're in front of a federal judge who is asking you why you did not give the 60 day notice that federal law requires. So, if I'm advising defense companies, my advice to those defense companies is they need to comply with federal law regardless of what the White House says," Brooks said.

Brooks said the WARN Act in itself may pose an intrusion because it is a government mandate businesses are required to follow, but added that the Obama administration should not be allowed to change the rules.

"If we want to revisit whether there should be a 60 day notice for mass layoffs, well then the proper way to do that is to present that to the United States Congress. President Obama has not made that presentation, yet he fears it with respect to the political consequences of his sequestration advocacy," Brooks said.

The White House is telling companies the Federal government will pay for legal costs if layoffs happen because of contract cancellations, but only if the companies do not give 60 day notices.

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