I grew up in the Northern Virginia area, and I can tell you just from personal experience that there are a lot of people in the suburbs surrounding DC who work for defense contractors — both young professionals and adults with families alike. There are a bunch of Virginia voters working through these companies on contracts at the Pentagon, the CIA, etcetera — and Virginia, I don’t need to remind you, is a very crucial swing state.
If lawmakers don’t do anything to stop the currently scheduled automatic spending cuts set to go into effect this January 2nd, the Pentagon is going to see its budget slashed by about 10 percent. That likely means fewer available projects, and defense contractors will have to make some adjustments. Typically, these companies will send notices to their employees 60 days before their contracts are expected to terminate in order to give them some warning — and they do this because it’s required by federal law, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act.
The Labor Department, however, would like federal contractors to know that, hey, it won’t be necessary to send out pink slips that would arrive in the mail a matter of days before the November election, because the White House is working to prevent the sequestration from actually happening. Never fear, says the DOL:
Although it is currently known that sequestration may occur, it is also known that efforts are being made to avoid sequestration.2 Thus, even the occurrence of sequestration is not necessarily foreseeable. In addition, the sequester’s impact on particular accounts will depend at least in part on Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding that Congress has not yet enacted. Perhaps more importantly, Federal agencies also have some discretion in how to implement the required reductions if sequestration were to occur. Given that Federal agencies, including DOD, have not announced which contracts will be affected by sequestration were it to occur, and that many contracts may be completely unaffected, the actual contract terminations or cutbacks that will occur in the event of sequestration are unknown. Thus, in the absence of any additional information, potential plant closings or layoffs resulting from such contract terminations or cutbacks are speculative and unforeseeable.
Uh huh. As Joel Gehrke reports:
…Congress is currently trying to prevent what’s been dubbed “sequestration,” a $110 billion budget cut, half coming from defense, that will take place on Jan. 2, 2013, if they cannot reach agreement on a deficit reduction package. Well, there is currently no agreement, sequestration is looming and bothsidesare pointing fingers over this.
…60 days before Jan. 2 is Nov. 2. Election Day this year falls on Nov. 6. The Aerospace Industries Association estimates that as many as 2.14 million jobs could be affected. That’s an awful lot of layoff warnings days before an election – and Republicans having [done] their best to pin the blame on the White House.
Need I say more?