Senate Republicans Block So-Called 'Insourcing' Act

Senate Republicans blocked another business tax cut pushed by President Obama and Democrats on Thursday. Last week it was for small businesses that hire new employees. Thursday's was for companies that bring jobs back to the United States. Republicans argued that it amounted to a tax increase on companies that left jobs overseas.

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Senate Democrats today tried to bring up legislation that would discourage the shipping of jobs overseas, and encourage bringing jobs back to the U.S. But Republicans blocked the so-called Bring Jobs Home Act. As NPR's David Welna reports, the Senate's debate was colored by election-year politics.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Sen. Debbie Stabenow is up for re-election this year in her home state of Michigan. She and Sherrod Brown, who is seeking another term in Ohio, are the Democratic sponsors of the Bring Jobs Home Act. Stabenow says the bill stops giving a big tax break to outsourcers.

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW: If a company decides to pack up and move overseas, should they be able to write that off their taxes, and you and I - all of us, as American taxpayers - pay for it? I don't think there are too many people in the country that would say yes to that.

WELNA: The bill would also give companies bringing jobs back to the U.S. a tax break worth 120 percent of their moving costs. Just four Senate Republicans voted to let this bill move forward. Utah's Orrin Hatch was the sole Republican who spoke against the measure.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH: The president's re-election campaign, and the Senate Democratic leadership, have apparently decided that they can make some political hay with this proposal. But as substantive tax policy go, this proposal is a joke.

WELNA: Hatch cited the bill's estimated cost savings of $14 million a year as a reason to vote against it. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of being as afraid of defending outsourcing, as Mitt Romney was of releasing more of his tax returns.

SEN. HARRY REID: It's fairly easy to see why Republicans are blocking our bill to stop outsourcing. They're obviously defending their presidential nominee, who - of course - made a fortune by shipping jobs overseas.

WELNA: Democrats acknowledge that a growing number of jobs are returning to the U.S. Their bill, they said, would only encourage that trend.

David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.

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