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After receiving the new guidance, Lockheed Martin, BAE and EADS said they no longer felt compelled to issue the layoff notices, which the companies earlier said would be needed under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or Warn Act.

But a spokesman for BAE said the company still plans on notifying employees at a later time if Congress can’t find a way to avoid the sequester during its fall session.

“Unless sequestration is avoided, we eventually may have no choice but to issue WARN notices to potentially impacted employees,” wrote BAE spokesman Brian Roehrkasse in an email. “When that might happen will depend on the circumstances as they develop.”

After hearing about the administration’s latest assurances to defense companies, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, California Republican, accused the White House of caring more about re-election efforts than workers’ job security.

Also questioning the administration, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire sent the director of the White House budget office a letter demanding to know the legal basis for its recent guidance.