Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Criticism of Federal Gov’t WARN Act Waivers, Sequestration
(Note: The links within are not from the Governor’s office, but rather provided for clarification of the weekly address’ assertions. Problems with the WARN Act have been reported for years; here is a 2007 article– well within the Bush Administration years- on some of the problems with a link to Congressional efforts (Forewarn Act of 2007).
It is worth noting that FoxNews has been hyping similar charges for awhile now. ~AP)
During the past several months Americans have watched Congress and the Obama Administration avoid making the tough choices that our country needs. Many people might believe that the poor choices made by Washington do not affect them much here at home. However, this is not the case, and some decisions hurt Mainers more than others.
The deficit-ceiling agreement made in the summer of 2011 to make across the board cuts if the Administration and Congress could not reach agreement on budget cuts is a particularly bad decision. It’s a decision that will impact not only state government, but also Maine people and communities. This law forces automatic and significant cuts, what is called sequestration, in defense and discretionary spending on January 2, 2013.
These cuts impact state government and that’s a problem we are working on; however, the cuts to defense means that businesses that have military contracts will be cut. Many programs may be shut down temporarily or permanently. In Maine, about 3,500 people who work for businesses that hold defense contracts may be laid off as a result of this bad deal. This could increase the number of people on Maine’s unemployment system by more than 20 percent and badly hurt our economy.
What makes this problem even worse is that the federal government has a law, called the WARN Act, that requires these larger employers to give 60 days’ notice to workers when there will be layoffs, and President Obama has directed the U.S. Department of Labor to waive the WARN Act. The Obama Administration will not require defense contractors to give workers notice that they might be laid off; calling sequestration an “unforeseen event,” even though they have known this problem has existed for nearly 2 years.
Here in Maine, we have a similar law that requires workers to receive notification from their employer if significant layoffs were to occur.
Why doesn’t the Obama Administration want to require the notice? Because 60 days’ notice means workers would have to be notified that they might be laid off by November 2, just days before the election.
The president has also directed the Office of Management and Budget to waste taxpayer funds to pay for fines or lawsuits levied against businesses for not complying with the WARN Act.
Maine’s workers deserve to know whether their jobs are in jeopardy because of poor decision-making in Washington. They need notice so that they can make plans for the future of their families.
What’s most concerning is that we are poised to send the same people back to Washington. What we must do is hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire because our country’s future depends on it.