The Senate blocked a vote on a bill Tuesday that would have punished companies for replacing American workers with foreign employees, a move Republicans called a “stunt” and a last ditch effort by Democrats to appear focused on jobs before the November midterm elections.
There was no indication that any Republicans would vote in favor of the bill’s cloture, giving Democrats the opportunity to accuse them of voting against a bill Democrats said would save American jobs. Five Democrats joined Republicans in blocking the measure, and Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln skipped the vote, ensuring the bill’s failure. (A fact members of the Democratic leadership were aware of when they called for a vote.)
The “Creating Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act” would have changed the tax code so that companies that add manufacturing jobs overseas would have to pay higher taxes than companies that keep jobs in the United States. It would also offer a two year tax holiday for companies that hire new workers within the country.
In a press conference shortly before the vote, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders touted the bill, saying that Americans should not be asked to compete with other workers in the global economy.
”That is wrong,” Sanders said. “Trade is a concept that is good. We all support trade. But we have got to move away from unfettered free trade.”
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of catering to the wealthy, a message Democrats have worked hard to paint on their opposition in the final months before the election.
“With Republicans what you see [is] what you get,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley told The Daily Caller. “A party more interested in protecting CEOs who ship American jobs overseas than creating jobs here in America.”
Republicans say that like the recent unsuccessful vote on a campaign disclosure bill, Democrats are forcing votes on bills they know will fail just for political reasons. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the vote a “political exercise” in a statement on the Senate floor Tuesday.
“They chose to ignore the concerns of the American people and to press ahead with their own agenda over the past year and a half,” McConnell said. “Now, in the last three days of the session, they’ve decided they can at least pretend to be concerned.”
Although only the November election results will show if the Democrats’ homestretch strategy was a successful one, Democrats said they will stay the course, even if it’s clear the bills will go nowhere.
“It’s not a surprise that we would bring up another jobs bill this week,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Robert Casey. “We will continue to do it”