'Fiscal cliff' looms as debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up
The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, analysts say, and the notices may start going out mere days before the presidential election, says The Washington Post. By law, all but the smallest companies must notify their workforce at least 60 days in advance when they know of specific job cuts that are likely to happen. Obama administration officials say that the threat of layoffs is overblown and that Republicans are playing up the possibility rather than trying to head it off. The Labor Department said Monday that it would be "inappropriate" for contractors to send out large-scale dismissal notices, because it is unclear whether the federal cuts will occur and how they would be carried out. Republicans reacted with fury, saying it is the White House that is playing politics. "The president is focused on preventing advance notice to American workers that their jobs are at risk and on perpetuating uncertainty," said Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Economists say the threat of deep cuts in domestic and defense spending, coupled with automatic increases in taxes, is already a drag on economic growth and a source of great uncertainty for businesses, which are holding back on hiring and thus contributing to the nation's unemployment rate's remaining above 8%. To read more, click here.
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