On Friday, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September. This disappointing jobs report is an indication that the United States is still facing an anemic job market. The economy has only recovered about 4.1 million of the 8.8 million jobs lost prior to June 2009, and the unemployment rate topped 8 percent from February 2009 to August 2012, which was the longest period of time since 1948.
This week also marks 3 months until the sequester causes massive defense cuts, threatening mass layoffs by defense and other federal contractors. This is yet another example of the administration putting politics ahead of the American people. In compliance with the WARN act, federal law requires contractors to issue layoff notices 60 days prior to the termination of a federal contract. But, in order to avoid bad news before the polls close, the White House had the Department of Labor ask these contractors to delay sending out pink slips.
Even worse, instead of working with Congress to solve the problem, the administration is busy covering their tracks. Following the initial guidance from the DOL, recommending these contractors circumvent the law and withhold information from their employees, the White House had the Office of Management and Budget issue another memosuggest that any legal fees filed against contractors who lay-off employees without proper notice, would be paid for by the contracting agency with taxpayer dollars.
This is a huge risk being imposed upon these employees. Hopefully, the Senate will act to avoid sequestration, but if we don't, the employees will be the ones left empty-handed with no time to find a new job in an already weak labor market.
I have voted to replace the sequester with spending reforms in the House of Representatives. This uncertainty could have been avoided if the administration had acted responsibly, and presented their own detailed plan for dealing with the sequester. Instead, the White House is preoccupied with playing politics.