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Outsourcing debate moves from presidential campaigns to the Hill

July 16, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • Congressional Democrats are tackling tax credits in favor of outsourcing this week, echoing President Obama's attacks on Mitt Romney's reported role in outsourcing.
Congressional Democrats are tackling tax credits in favor of outsourcing… (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images )

WASHINGTON -- Not only is President Obama not apologizing for his campaign attacks on Mitt Romney's leadership at Bain Capital, but congressional Democrats are poised to provide reinforcement by voting later this week on legislation that would end tax breaks for outsourcing.

Gutting the tax break and using the money to reward companies who return operations to the U.S. were among the items on Obama's economic "to do" list to Congress. The decision by Democratic leaders in the Senate to take up the bill shows the increased coordination between the White House and the president's allies as they make a concerted push to define the political narrative heading toward November.

At the same time, House Republicans are readying an attack on Obama's budget priorities, voting this week on legislation that would prevent the massive Pentagon cuts coming in January -- budget reductions Obama agreed to as part of the deal reached with Republicans last summer to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

Republicans have traditionally supported robust Defense Department spending, and GOP leaders seek to reinforce this view as they portray the president as gambling with the nation's military might.

The Pentagon cuts were part of a complex agreement to slash defense and non-defense spending for the next 10 years. Democrats are increasingly willing to stomach those cuts if Republicans continue their refusal to raise taxes to help balance budgets. 

The action this week in Congress once again makes the floor of the House and Senate a showcase of party priorities, even though none of the legislation is likely to become law.

First, though, the Senate is expected to vote Monday on legislation that would curb undisclosed campaign spending. That’s a do-over of sorts for the Democratic priority, in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case, and faces GOP opposition. The bill is likely  to be blocked from advancing by a Republican-led filibuster.

The outsourcing measure would give companies who return operations and workers to the U.S. a 20% tax credit for making the move. It would pay for the tax break by closing tax loopholes for companies that send jobs overseas.

Republicans largely oppose the measure, preferring an overhaul of the corporate and individual tax code. They have largely dismissed Obama's "to-do" list, even though it includes measures to spur the economy the GOP has supported in the past.

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Twitter: @lisamascaro

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