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State News

October 9, 2012

Facing budget woes

NORMAN — Session unlikely to end debate in Congress oversequestration

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., was in Norman on Wednesday, meeting with members of the local business community and voicing his concerns about sequestration and the possible loss of jobs resulting from automatic spending cuts.

When Congress passes appropriations bills in excess of limits previously set down for itself in the annual budget resolution, reductions must be made to avoid an automatic, across-the-board cutback called sequestration. The threat of sequestration currently hangs over the nation, with members of Congress unable or unwilling to agree on the needed cuts.

While some vital programs are protected from sequestration, defense and other cuts will occur on Jan. 2 if something does not change in the current scenario.

Inhofe has joined fellow Republicans in blasting the Obama administration for the possible fallout from sequestration cuts.

“Last week, the Office of Management and Budget provided guidance that said they would cover any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could be brought against contracting companies as a result of their failure to follow the WARN Act,” Inhofe said in a press release Monday.

Inhofe is concerned that employers such as Lockheed Martin could ask for millions in reimbursements from lawsuits resulting from a failure to follow the 60-day notification requirements outlined in WARN.

Inhofe further referenced a July report by the Aerospace Industries Association that estimates defense and non-defense sequestration could result in the loss of 2.1 million jobs.

The White House, through the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, issued a report Sept. 14 outlining the possible fallout from sequestration.

“In August 2011, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate voted for the threat of sequestration as a mechanism to force Congress to act on further deficit reduction,” according to the transparency report. “The specter of harmful across-the-board cuts to defense and non-defense programs was intended to drive both sides to compromise. The sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented.

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