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Lockheed says it won't issue layoff notices - GOP irked

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Cites White House assurances on defense pacts; GOP irked. Lockheed Martin on Monday backed down from its summertime threat to issue layoff warnings to employees just before the November election, saying the Obama administration has given assurances that it won't immediately kill any major defense contracts when automatic spending cuts go into effect in January.

The announcement ends a months-long standoff with the administration that could have turned into a political headache, but the news drew criticism from Republicans who questioned whether the Pentagon and White House budget office even had the legal authority to give those assurances.

Lockheed Martin and other defense companies had said with massive budget cuts, known as sequesters, slated to take effect Jan. 2, they would have had to send out notices warning of potential layoffs 60 days in advance...

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