Bill would cut funding to companies that off-shore jobs

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(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders says no federal money should go to companies that lay off American workers and move operations overseas. Sanders says the issue of trade and jobs has gained increasing attention in Congress.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Sanders calls his bill the Defending American Jobs Act. The legislation would block federal grants, loans or loan guarantees from going to companies that lay off more workers in the U.S. than they let go in other countries.

(Sanders) “We are now through programs like the Export-Import Bank, we have provided many billions of dollars to some of the largest corporations in America who together have laid off hundreds of thousands of American workers. That is totally crazy. We want to give support to those companies that want to create decent paying jobs in America. We don’t want to give financial support to those companies that are very overt about telling us they’re moving to China, they’re moving to India or wherever. And that’s what this legislation does.”

(Dillon) The bill would target companies such as IBM and General Electric, which have received federal loan guarantees and moved jobs to other countries. According to Sanders’ office, IBM, for example, has laid off more than 15,000 U.S. workers since 2001. But the company has also signed deals to train 100,000 software specialists in China. Sanders says the company has received more than $20 million in assistance from the government’s Export-Import Bank.

Free trade and job losses have emerged as major issues in the Democratic presidential primary. Sanders says he hears more and more concern in Congress about American companies exporting jobs overseas.

(Sanders) “There has been a tidal wave of support now to deal with the issue of the loss of manufacturing jobs and the loss of good paying information technology jobs. Ten years ago they were very few of us on the floor of the House dealing with this issue. Today, almost everybody is.”

(Dillon) Sanders says several Republicans have signed on to the bill, which now has about 50 co-sponsors.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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