Some Dems Join GOP Outsourcing Filibuster

A handful of Senate Democrats joined all Republicans to block a vote on a bill that would have ended tax policies that provides companies incentives to ship jobs overseas.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) stood with a united Senate GOP on Tuesday to filibuster the Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act (S. 3816). An independent, Lieberman caucuses with Democrats, and as such holds a committee chairmanship.

In all, the bill failed on a 53-45 vote, with two senators not voting. A supermajority of 60 votes were necessary to overcome the filibuster and move the legislation to final passage.

The legislation would provide 24 months of payroll tax relief to employers for each job brought from overseas to the United States. The legislation would also close loopholes that provide companies with tax breaks for outsourcing manufacturing jobs.

“The bill we tried to pass today is based on simple common sense: to keep American jobs here in America, we should stop forcing taxpayers in Nevada and across the nation to pay for giveaways that reward companies for sending American jobs overseas. But Republicans continued their job-killing agenda today by protecting these tax breaks for CEOs who offshore American jobs, and preserving the same failed Republican policies that cost 8 million Americans their jobs,” says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“Every time Republicans are given a choice between supporting middle-class families in Nevada and across America or protecting CEOs and special interests, they choose to stand with the wealthy and the powerful. That is their choice,” Reid adds. “And while they do not have to answer to me for their choices, they will have to answer to the millions of American workers who lost their jobs because of companies sending jobs overseas.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was a key backer of the bill that failed, and as noted the steep decline in the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

“One of the major reasons the middle class of this country is in decline and why the working class is being decimated and why real wages are going down for millions of American workers who are working longer hours for lower wages is that for a number of years now we have been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs,” Sanders says in a Senate floor speech.

Sanders also noted during a Capitol Hill press conference before Tuesday’s vote that, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States went from 17 million to about 12 million during the eight years of the Bush administration. As a result, the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record.

Based on newly-released data from the Census Bureau, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the top 20 percent of Americans with income of more than $100,000 each year received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the United States, compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line. At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, census data show. Families at the $50,000 median level fell further behind. Overall, U.S. income inequality was at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The United States also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.

“Income inequality is rising, and if we took into account tax data, it would be even more,” Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in poverty, told AP. “More than other countries, we have a very unequal income distribution where compensation goes to the top in a winner-takes-all economy.”

Tester, a Senate freshman and one of those Democrats who joined in the filibuster, says he did so because, he says, because the tax provisions are not offset and would add to the federal budget deficit.

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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