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Author Topic: Obama breaks the law again
G3
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There is a law requiring corporations considering layoffs to tell their employees about it. It's called the the WARN Act of 1988. The law requires any company with 100 or more employees to provide a 60-day warning ahead of planned layoffs.

Automatic cuts to defense spending are set to take place on on Jan 2, 2013. Companies like Lockheed Martin would see quite a few projects defunded as part of these cuts which would necessitate the layoff of workers so they'd have to give the notice as required by law right now. Barry don't want that to happen during election time.

What's a SCOAMF to do? Why, break the law of course:
quote:
So the Office of Management and Budget went a step further in guidance issued late Friday afternoon. If an agency terminates or modifies a contract, and the contractor must close a plant or lay off workers en masse, the company could treat employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability, attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs as allowable costs to be covered by the contracting agency—so long as the contractor has followed a course of action consistent with the Labor Department’s guidance. The legal fees would be covered regardless of the outcome of the litigation, according to the OMB guidance issued by Daniel Werfel, controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management, and Joseph Jordan, the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy.
Barry is paying Lockheed Martin to violate the law. How do you think those workers are going to feel after the election when they're no longer important to Barry's reelection?
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AI Wessex
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YAGFIAIWNEM*

Yet Another Grounds For Impeachment, As If We Needed Even More!

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Pete at Home
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I might take that seriously, if you'd provided links.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
YAGFIAIWNEM*

Yet Another Grounds For Impeachment, As If We Needed Even More!

Dunno about grounds for impeachment, but it's grounds to not reelect. If someone's using presidential power to pull a Bain ...
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AI Wessex
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Pete, you know that G3 doesn't provide links on the hopeful premise that you won't read what he read and get the information that doesn't "make his case". Through a heroic effort on my part (and standing on the broad shoulders of Google) I found the article from which he snipped his partisnip, and it also says the following, which is hardly a condemnation on the order G3 wishes it would be:
quote:
Some defense companies—including Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and EADS North America—have said they expect to send notices to their employees 60 days before sequestration takes effect to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies to give advance warning to workers deemed reasonably likely to lose their jobs. Companies appeared undeterred by a July 30 guidance from the Labor Department, which said issuing such notices would be inappropriate, due to the possibility that sequestration may be averted. The Labor Department also said companies do not have enough information about how the cuts might be implemented to determine which workers or specific programs could be affected should Congress fail to reach a compromise to reduce the deficit, triggering $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, half from defense, half non-defense. For 2013, that would amount to $109 billion in spending cuts.


[ October 03, 2012, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Pete at Home
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"Pete, you know that G3 doesn't provide links on the hopeful premise that you won't read what he read and get the information that doesn't "make his case".

I don't know, but I've heard it said. Which is why I've asked for links before I hop on any G-bandwagon.

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msquared
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NPR had an article, I think, on it the other day.

msquared

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JWatts
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This is a pretty widely reported story, but everyone should post links when providing quotes.

Regarding the issue, the underlying story is pretty bad. The OMB is going to pay for the companies costs if they get sued for breaking the law. This is a pretty blatant case of facilitating an illegal act to protect the Obama administration from bad press before the election.

From The Hill's report on the story:
quote:
The Obama administration issued new guidance intended for defense contractors Friday afternoon, reiterating the administration’s position that the companies should not be issuing layoff notices over sequestration.

The Labor Department issued guidance in July saying it would be “inappropriate” for contractors to issue notices of potential layoffs tied to sequestration cuts. But a few contractors, most notably Lockheed Martin, said they still were considering whether to issue the notices — which would be sent out just days before the November election.

But the Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance.

The Hill

However, this is probably more of The Obama Administration blatantly breaks the law, bypasses the courts or Congress, again. Yawn.

[ October 03, 2012, 01:58 PM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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Wayward Son
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That's assuming, of course, that these companies will have to lay off their employees come January.

And that depends on what Congress--both the Republicans and the Democrats do--after the election. IIRC.

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PSRT
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"This is a pretty blatant case of facilitating an illegal act to protect the Obama administration from bad press before the election."

No its not. Where the money is coming from for potential cuts won't be determined by January 2nd, so defense contractors won't be finding out if they are losing federal funding by January 2nd, so they won't be shutting down any plants or laying off large numbers of workers by January 2nd. So the WARN act doesn't apply prior to the election.

On the other hand, the argument COULD be made that sending out warnings with no possibility of shutdown within 60 days, just before the election, would be a political act.

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cherrypoptart
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The obvious question is what was done in the past in a case like this when it wasn't an election year?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
However, this is probably more of The Obama Administration blatantly breaks the law, bypasses the courts or Congress, again.
What law, exactly is there against covering legal fees? Without that, they risking, at most, creating a regulatory violation if the sequestration isn't reversed, not any kind of illegal action. There might be fines and some civil actions, but no criminal activity.

It's not necessarily illegal to violate a regulation; so long as you pay the associated fine you're still in compliance with the law.

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MattP
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WARN notices are usually only sent out when there is an impending closure. I've received one myself and there was no question that my facility was being shut down.

I've never heard of one being sent out speculatively and the act does allow for shorter notification periods when the closure is related to "unforeseeable circumstances" which seems to leave some wiggle-room here, as no specific contractors have been targeted for cuts, even if sequestration does go through, which is also uncertain.

It seems like the Obama administration is saying that they don't think WARN notices apply in this situation, but if there are any lawsuits based on WARN they will indemnify the contractors against the cost of defending them. Nothing blatantly illegal that I can see.

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JWatts
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From Wiki:
quote:

There are three (3) exceptions to the full 60-day notice requirement; however, the notice must be provided as soon as practicable, even when these exceptions apply, and the employer must provide a statement of the reason for shortening the notice requirement in addition to fulfilling other notice information requirements. These three exceptions are:

Faltering company: When, before a plant closing, a company is actively seeking capital or business and reasonably, in good faith, believes that advance notice would preclude its ability to obtain such capital or business, and this new capital or business would allow the employer to avoid or postpone the shutdown for a reasonable period;

Unforeseeable business circumstances: When the closing or mass layoff is caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time that the 60-day notice would have been required (i.e. a business circumstance caused by some sudden, dramatic, and unexpected action(s) or condition(s) beyond the employer's control, such as a major order's unexpected cancellation); or

Natural disaster: When a plant closing or mass layoff is the direct result of a natural disaster such as a flood, an earthquake, a drought, a storm, a tidal wave, or the similar effects of nature. In such cases, notice may be given after the event.

It's a stretch to call the impending spending cuts that are mandated by law to take effect: Unforeseeable business circumstances. And the law requires the company even in this case to provide the notice as soon as possible.

When will that be? What point between now and the end of the year will be a significantly better time to mail out the notices? The whole point of the Law is to provide the employees 60 days notice of likely upcoming lay offs. The only legal justification for not requiring it, is that you can reasonably predict the issue will be resolved before the end of the year.

Furthermore, on what possible grounds can the OMB offer to pay the legal fees due to possible law suits? At that point you are just saying, well if it is against the law and you do get sued, don't worry about it, we'll take care of any penalties. If it's not against the law then this shouldn't be an issue. You'll also note that the OMB is stating they'll cover any employee compensation costs for WARN act liability if the employees win their suit. So this isn't about protecting companies from frivolous law suits.

In the past companies have issued Warn Notices to employees when other employees have gone on strike. Since if an agreement wasn't met in the next 60 days between the striking employees and the company, the non-striking employees would lose their jobs. The law required the companies to issue the notices in that case, it's hard to believe it doesn't in this case. And if it doesn't then why the heck does the OMB need to indemnify the companies?

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
"This is a pretty blatant case of facilitating an illegal act to protect the Obama administration from bad press before the election."

No its not. Where the money is coming from for potential cuts won't be determined by January 2nd, so defense contractors won't be finding out if they are losing federal funding by January 2nd, so they won't be shutting down any plants or laying off large numbers of workers by January 2nd. So the WARN act doesn't apply prior to the election.

Yes, it is. What you call potential cuts are actual planned cuts. They take effect Jan 2. Lockheed Martin knows this, that's why they announced their plans. The Obama administration knows this, that's why they said they'd indemnify the company and protect them from lawsuits. If it was what you're trying to spin is as, there would be no concern about lawsuits or any of that.

quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
On the other hand, the argument COULD be made that sending out warnings with no possibility of shutdown within 60 days, just before the election, would be a political act.

Actually, it's called complying with the law.

quote:
“Imagine if a Republican president said that, because his proposed tax cuts were likely to become law, there was no need for the existing rates to be paid.”
Yeah, what about that? The law is likely to change so no need to comply with it - how's that going to work out? Is it only right before elections that laws can be waived by executive order or is any time the president feels like it? This is what you're thinking is prefectly legal to do?


Lockheed Martin better be damned careful is they decide to actually violate the WARN Act:
quote:
I [Charles Cooke talking to Lindsay Graham] asked what happens if the president attempts to reimburse them? “If he tries to go through Congress, well, that’ll never happen.” And if he tries to reallocate funds? “We would shut that down. The Constitution has a balance of powers for a reason. Congressional law cannot be unilaterally discarded by the executive branch.”
The SCOAMF can promise funds all he wants but he don't control the purse strings for that. He'd have to break some more laws to get that to Lockheed Martin.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"Pete, you know that G3 doesn't provide links on the hopeful premise that you won't read what he read and get the information that doesn't "make his case".

I don't know, but I've heard it said. Which is why I've asked for links before I hop on any G-bandwagon.

Wow, I don't know what kind of moron tried to piss down your back and convince you it's raining (I have an idea though) but try google Pete, it's quite easy to find.
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AI Wessex
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G3, you're all over one paragraph in a 4 paragraph story, but the other 3 paragraphs make it clear that this isn't a big issue. Once again, if this is so egregious an act by the Administration and WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED BACK IN JULY how come not even the Republicans in Congress are investigating or making a big stink?

Since it's obvious that you are in fact reading my posts, try answering some of the challenges thrown your way instead of running away every time it's demonstrated that you are twisting facts to suit your irrational agenda.

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Pete at Home
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G3, what I said was, "I don't know, but I've heard it said." So I'm not convinced. Just suspicious, as I am whenever I see quotes without links or sources.

Google uses links for ordering, so please do your part.

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AI Wessex
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[Deleted, as I realize Pete's post above was not addressed to me...]

[ October 03, 2012, 06:05 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
]Wow, I don't know what kind of moron tried to piss down your back and convince you it's raining (I have an idea though) but try google Pete, it's quite easy to find.

G3, your post on the topic was a good post. A link would have made your post better, it's certainly not required, but it would have made it better. Attacking Pete over saying so is an over-reaction.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Once again, if this is so egregious an act by the Administration and WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED BACK IN JULY how come not even the Republicans in Congress are investigating or making a big stink?

The indemnification memo came out this last Friday on September 28th, Al. The indemnification memo is certainly a pretty drastic change of policy.

And Republican's in Congress are raising a stink.

quote:
McCain Threatens to Block Contractor Payments From Pentagon - Oct 3rd

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said today he would move to block Pentagon payments to defense contractors facing layoff-related expenses from automatic budget cuts set to begin in January.

Senator John McCain of Arizona faulted guidance from the Office of Management and Budget last week saying the government would cover legal and compensation costs of contractors facing spending cuts and held liable for not giving enough notice of layoffs. He accused President Barack Obama of “telling contractors to ignore the law” so that layoff notices wouldn’t be delivered before the Nov. 6 election.

“Companies have a choice whether to rely on OMB’s politically-motivated guidance or to comply with the law,” McCain said in an e-mailed statement. “But I can assure them that I will do everything in my power to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to compensate contractors who do not comply with the law.”

Link
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AI Wessex
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JWatts, from G3's article:
quote:
Companies appeared undeterred by a July 30 guidance from the Labor Department, which said issuing such notices would be inappropriate, due to the possibility that sequestration may be averted. The Labor Department also said companies do not have enough information about how the cuts might be implemented to determine which workers or specific programs could be affected should Congress fail to reach a compromise to reduce the deficit, triggering $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, half from defense, half non-defense. For 2013, that would amount to $109 billion in spending cuts.
And from your article:
quote:
“Furthermore, I have advised the Secretary that I intend to deny any transfer of funds among defense accounts to pay for these costs,” McCain said in the statement. It’s not clear how McCain would block any transfers if the Senate remains in Democratic hands after next month’s election.
So it's not a matter of law, really, but of policy where the GOP opposes the Administration policy and is claiming that it's a opaque law. Apparently, not so.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
JWatts, from G3's article:
quote:
Companies appeared undeterred by a July 30 guidance from the Labor Department, which said issuing such notices would be inappropriate, due to the possibility that sequestration may be averted.

Yes, and updated Guidance came out on Friday from the OMB. As in 5 days ago Friday.

Is there some kind of point to agreeing that yes there was a position from two months ago and yes it changed drastically on Friday, but claiming no one can complain about it now? Right after the policy drastically changed?

Perhaps, you should consider that the US Federal government deals in a tremendous amount of paperwork. It's a little bit much to expect Congress to read and be aware of every publicly released statement at any given time.

quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
And from your article:
quote:
“Furthermore, I have advised the Secretary that I intend to deny any transfer of funds among defense accounts to pay for these costs,” McCain said in the statement. It’s not clear how McCain would block any transfers if the Senate remains in Democratic hands after next month’s election.
So it's not a matter of law, really, but of policy where the GOP opposes the Administration policy and is claiming that it's a opaque law. Apparently, not so.
How you reach that conclusion baffles me? John McCain says:
quote:
But I can assure them that I will do everything in my power to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to compensate contractors who do not comply with the law.
You might make a decent argument that McCain is incorrect about the law, but arguing it's "not a matter of law, really, but of policy" is ridiculous. It's a Law, the administration is offering to pay companies legal fees if they get sued for breaking the law. The comment you posted has nothing to do with the legality of the issue, it's merely pointing out that McCain may well be powerless to block the funds.

Of course, that's completely irrelevant in any case, since funding is the purview of the House and the Republican's control the House.

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AI Wessex
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"You might make a decent argument that McCain is incorrect about the law, but arguing it's "not a matter of law, really, but of policy" is ridiculous."

It's not ridiculous if McCain is wrong, in which case it's not a matter of law. So what is it, if not law? -- policy. Note that the last sentence I quoted from your article:
quote:
It’s not clear how McCain would block any transfers if the Senate remains in Democratic hands after next month’s election.
You think they'll blatantly break the law and be shielded from consequences?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
It's a stretch to call the impending spending cuts that are mandated by law to take effect: Unforeseeable business circumstances.
I disagree. In fact...

quote:

In the past companies have issued Warn Notices to employees when other employees have gone on strike. Since if an agreement wasn't met in the next 60 days between the striking employees and the company, the non-striking employees would lose their jobs. The law required the companies to issue the notices in that case.

...I would be astonished if the law actually required this. It is to your hypothetical company's benefit to send out notices, however, as if they believed the law required it, as it has the effect of suppressing dissent.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
The SCOAMF can promise funds all he wants but he don't control the purse strings for that.

You know, I think you should show a little more respect. That's "SCOAMF in Chief", please.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
It's a Law, the administration is offering to pay companies legal fees if they get sued for breaking the law.
No- there's no direct threat of incarceration or any other criminal penalties here. Only of fines for a regulatory violation. It is perfectly legal to violate a regulation that carries no direct criminal penalties, so long as you pay the associated fines. (And, note, the OMB didn't say that it would cover the penalties themselves, only that it would allow them to be deducted as compensation for the workers (since that's effectively where the money from such penalties goes); it's only any incidental legal fees that the companies might incur that they offered to cover directly) In the meantime it prevents a blatant attempt at scare tactics on the part of those companies given that none of them know for sure what, if any, of their contracts might be cancelled yet. (And even if the contracts were cancelled, they could easily start the 60 days at the time that they were notified of the cancellation while looking for now projects to prevent having to lay anyone off rather than jumping the gun.)
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