Dems reject GOP move to force layoff notices

Senate Democrats have turned back a Republican effort to force defense contractors to send out notices of possible job layoffs four days before the election.

The Appropriations Committee rejected the move by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on a 17-13 vote Thursday. The panel's chairman, Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, called it a political stunt.

A 1980s law called the WARN Act requires companies to notify employees 60 days in advance of possible layoffs. If Congress fails to avert automatic spending cuts that begin Jan. 2, those notices could go out Nov. 2.

The Labor Department said this week that the notices would be inappropriate because the across-the-board cuts are only speculative at this point.

The vote came as the committee approved a $604 billion defense spending bill for next year.