Earlier this week, the Labor Department advised defense contractors that giving pink slips to thousands of employees who will be laid off if sequestration takes place would be “inappropriate.” Erika hit the election aspect of this on Tuesday, pointing out that the 60-day layoff notice that typically happens would put layoff notices coming four days before the November election. Coincidence? Must be…
However, on Wednesday the Washington Times reported on a different aspect of this layoff notice discussion — that the Labor Department’s advice is in direct opposition to how the President viewed layoffs in 2007. From the Times:
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers with 100 workers or more to give 60 days’ notice of a plant closing or mass layoffs. And in 2007, then-Sen. Obama urged Congressto beef up the law, arguing that employers were ignoring it and the government wasn’t enforcing it.“For too long, employers have failed to notify workers that they’re about to lose their jobs due to mass layoffs or plant closings even though notice is required by the WARN Act,” Mr. Obama said in that news release on July 17, 2007.
That same month, Mr. Obama also said, “We must act at the federal level to close the loophole that allows employers to disregard the WARN Act without penalty. We must give the WARN Act teeth, to ensure that workers are not left in the lurch without a job or a paycheck.”
That year, Senate Democrats led by Mr. Obama, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York proposed the Forewarn Act, which would have added to the regulations by requiring 90 days notice of layoffs and expanding the number of companies under federal jurisdiction. The legislation died.
The White House did not respond to a question about the apparent inconsistency between Mr. Obama’s position five years ago and the administration’s policy guidance this week.
It is doubtful that any politician is innocent of using policy to boost his or her chances of re-election, but this President seems to be pushing the limit. Between the HHS mandate — designed to create a “War on Women” — class warfare on taxes, his spring tour talking about college loans, and Obama’s recent support for gay marriage, he really has become the perpetual campaigner. And with the Times’ report showing this recent campaign prop (er, regulatory advice from a federal agency) to be a 180-degree switch from his 2007 position and legislation, it’s got to be getting hard for any Democrats to say the President really is more concerned about the jobs of the American public than his own.