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Contractors Ignore GOP Warnings on Layoffs

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (above) has campaigned around the country, warning of the danger of the sequester with GOP Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

The Center for Security Policy’s Christine Brim said the administration has knowingly created a situation of uncertainty because it has instructed the Defense Department not to make plans for the sequestration in order to avoid the pre-election layoff notices. Her organization is run by Ronald Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney.

“It’s a man-made disaster as opposed to one that just emerged on its own,” Brim said. “Nobody wants arbitrary notices to go out if they’re not needed, but because there are no plans, we cannot issue WARN Act notices because we don’t know which specific contracts would be affected. It’s a Catch-22 that’s been created here.”

At issue is $109 billion in spending cuts — including $55 billion from the Pentagon — that are set to go into effect Jan. 2. The cuts are the first installment in a total of $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts over 10 years. The cuts, part of a deal struck last year to raise the debt ceiling, were triggered by Congress’ failure to agree to its own deficit reduction package, and Republicans, along with some Democrats, have raised concerns that the cuts could hurt national defense programs.

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