U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and outspoken critic of automatic defense cuts under Sequestration, today blasted the Obama administration for its continued failure to address the looming cuts that take effect on January 2, 2013. Last Friday, the Office of Management and Budget provided guidance that said they would cover any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could be brought against contracting companies as a result of their failure to follow the WARN Act.
"For months, the Obama administration has been leaning on defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and others, asking them to break the law as outlined by the WARN Act and not send out the mandatory 60-days' notice of pending layoffs," said Inhofe. "Rather than providing leadership to address looming sequestration cuts, Obama's Office of Management and Budget is now offering what amounts to a bailout for the Obama presidency. Bribing companies to not send out layoff notices just days before this year's election by promising to pay for any litigation costs that result from their failure to follow the WARN Act is both irresponsible and puts the taxpayers on the hook to pay for billions of dollars in payouts and lawyer fees. Obama is only trying to save his own job. Instead, the President should be working with Congress to find a real solution to sequestration."
Inhofe pointed to the fact that Lockheed Martin alone has estimated that sequestration would impact a significant portion of its 120,000 employees and their families. If litigation for this one company awarded a mere $1,000 per affected employee, that could amount to $120 million. A July 2012 report issued by the Aerospace Industries Association concluded that defense and non-defense sequestration would result in the loss of 2.1 million jobs -- 1.1 million from the defense sector alone. To avoid sequestration, Inhofe has offered the Sequestration Prevention Act of 2012 that would repeal Obamacare, block grant Medicaid, cut non-defense discretionary spending back to 2006 levels, create a block grant program for food stamps, reduce the size of the federal workforce by ten percent through natural attrition, incorporate tort reform, and prohibit federal funding of climate change and global warming activities.
Inhofe's legislation is the only permanent fix for sequestration that has been offered in the Senate. Rather than trying to hide the truth of sequestration's impacts on the labor force until after the election, this is the type of solution that the administration should be negotiating and pursuing.