Jumpstart our Business Strength (Jobs) Act

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: March 4, 2004
Location: Washington, DC

JUMPSTART OUR BUSINESS STRENGTH (JOBS) ACT

Mr. McCONNELL. I rise today to offer on behalf of the majority leader and myself a second-degree amendment on behalf of the 6.4 million Americans who earn their livelihood in our country while working for foreign corporations.

This amendment is very simple. It delays the effective date of the outsourcing provisions until the Secretary of Commerce certifies the amendment made by this title will not result in the loss of more jobs than it will protect and will not cause harm to the United States economy. In short, it is a do-no-harm provision. Remember, 6.4 million Americans have their jobs in the United States as a result of foreign companies doing business here.

Senator Dodd's fundamental goal of encouraging and protecting American jobs is certainly a sound one. No one can argue with that. However, it may jeopardize many more jobs in the process of trying to achieve a laudable goal. These 6.4 million Americans depend on salaries from foreign corporations to feed their children, provide them shelter, education, and health care.

If America erects a global jobs barrier, nations around this world may retaliate in kind. This would put at risk those 6.4 million jobs I have been talking about. These are real numbers, real jobs, and real families put at risk.

Yesterday, the Senator from Connecticut stated he was told over the next decade over 3 million American jobs may be outsourced. Unfortunately, with American jobs at stake we cannot risk what is or what may be. What is, right now, is the existence of 6.4 million American jobs, not over the next decade but right now, real numbers calculated by the Census Bureau.

Let's just take Kentucky, for example. We have 104,100 people in my State employed by foreign companies or their affiliates. That is a lot of jobs in a State of 4 million people. It is a huge number of jobs.

In Connecticut, 116,000-even more than in Kentucky-jobs are held by citizens of Connecticut who are working for foreign corporations doing business in Connecticut. These pale in comparison to what is at stake in the State of Massachusetts-223,300 jobs-Massachusetts citizens working in Massachusetts for foreign corporations-an astonishing number, indeed. Again, in Massachusetts, nearly a quarter of a million workers, their families and their children, are put at risk potentially by the amendment of the Senator from Connecticut-real jobs and real families facing real unemployment and real hardship.

For the sake of these jobs, I strongly urge my colleagues to adopt the amendment I have just offered. The underlying legislation is the JOBS bill. That is what this underlying bill is all about: American jobs.

It is counter to this legislation and our duties here as Members of this body to take action which puts 6.4 million American workers' jobs at risk. That is not what we ought to be doing on the floor of the Senate.

Finally, let's just drive the point home by looking on a State-by-State basis at how many jobs are in the United States as a result of foreign corporations doing business in our various States.

Let's start at the top of the alphabet: Alabama,76,800 jobs; Alaska, 11,600 jobs; Arizona, 75,200 jobs; Arkansas, 40,400 jobs; California, 737,600 jobs-the number of people in California in jobs as a result of foreign corporations doing work in California; in Colorado, 101,000 jobs; in Connecticut, as I mentioned earlier, 116,000 jobs; in Delaware, 33,400 jobs; in the District of Columbia, 17,100 jobs; in Florida, 306,900 jobs-Floridians working for foreign corporations; in Georgia, 223,900 jobs; in Hawaii, 43,300 jobs; in Idaho, 14,200 jobs; in Illinois, 317,100 jobs; in Indiana, 165,900 jobs; in Iowa, 40,300 jobs; in Kansas, 60,600 jobs; as I mentioned earlier, in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 104,100 jobs; in Louisiana, 61,100 jobs; in Maine, 33,400 jobs; in Maryland, 110,400 jobs; as I mentioned earlier, in Massachusetts, 223,300 jobs; in Michigan, 246,500 jobs; in Minnesota, 103,100 jobs; in Mississippi, 23,900 jobs; in Missouri, 105,100 jobs; in Montana, 6,800 jobs; in Nebraska, 21,800 jobs; in Nevada, 35,700 jobs; in New Hampshire, 45,900 jobs; in New Jersey, 269,100 jobs; in New Mexico, 16,300 jobs; in New York, 471,600 jobs; in North Carolina, 261,600 jobs; in North Dakota, 8,600 jobs; in Ohio, 259,400 jobs; in Oklahoma, 41,800 jobs; in Oregon, 62,300 jobs; in Pennsylvania, 280,800 jobs; in Rhode Island, 24,400 jobs; in South Carolina, 137,600 jobs; in South Dakota, 6,900 jobs; in Tennessee, 148,600 jobs; in Texas almost a half million-437,900-jobs; in Utah, 37,400 jobs; in Vermont, 11,600 jobs; in Virginia, 179,200 jobs; in Washington, 104,200 jobs; in West Virginia, 27,600 jobs; in Wisconsin, 106,800 jobs; in Wyoming, 7,800 jobs.

There is an enormous number of Americans-6.4 million Americans-working in America, working in our country, employed by foreign corporations. We do not want to gamble with that. Outsourcing is a matter of concern, but we are proud of the insourcing that is going on, too, and the fact there is an enormous number of foreign corporations that have come into our country because they think it has a good business environment, because they want to employ Americans to produce products here in our country.

Mr. President, I hope this amendment on behalf of the majority leader and myself will be adopted.

Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?

Mr. McCONNELL. I will.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.

Mr. GREGG. I think the Senator has made an extraordinarily strong point. I noticed when he got to New Hampshire, he said 45,000 jobs in New Hampshire are tied to businesses which are non-American owned. Is the Senator aware the largest employer in the State of New Hampshire is not an American company?

Mr. McCONNELL. I did not know that, and I think that is a very interesting point to be made.

Mr. GREGG. Literally thousands of people's lives would be affected if that country, which happens to be England-our closest ally, closest friend, one of our largest trading partners, after Canada-if that country were to take the view that is being taken by the Senator from Connecticut, that they should deny their companies creating jobs in the United States. That company would be closed down in Nashua, NH, our second largest city and our largest employer. Is the Senator aware of that?

Mr. McCONNELL. I was not aware of that, but it certainly illustrates the point the Senator from Kentucky was trying to make.

Mr. DODD. Will the Senator yield on that very point just made?

Mr. GREGG. I do not have the time.

Mr. McCONNELL. I have the floor. I yielded to the Senator from New Hampshire.

Mr. DODD. I would just like to point out-

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky has the floor.

Mr. McCONNELL. If we could have one at a time, Mr. President. I yielded to the Senator from New Hampshire for a question.

Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, I was wondering if this does not also flow into the issue of our ability to access other markets. If we are in the business of trade, where 30 percent of the jobs in New Hampshire are tied not to being owned by a foreign country but being able to sell products to a foreign country-30 percent of our jobs; for one in three workers in the State of New Hampshire, their job is directly related to the fact that the product they make is sold overseas-is it not logical that if we begin to close down our borders, we are basically opening a trade war, and that we could potentially close down those jobs, too, because some nation may retaliate in some other way other than not allowing outsourcing?

Mr. McCONNELL. I say to my friend from New Hampshire, that is precisely the point. I think retaliation would be the order of the day. I will give you an example in my State. The Japanese corporation Toyota chose to outsource from Japan to the United States over 8,000 jobs to Georgetown, KY, to build the Toyota Camry. Eight thousand Kentuckians are employed at that particular site as a result of the outsourcing from Japan of those jobs into my State. They are high-paying jobs. We are extremely pleased they are there, and we would not want to do anything to jeopardize the existence of Toyota or the 50 or 60 supplier plants that have come into my State as a result of the Toyota company being there to send parts to the Toyota plant. Under their "just in time" supplier strategy, they send parts up there every day to be installed in those cars, employing a dramatic number of Kentuckians in addition to the 8,000 who are there at that site.

So the Senator from New Hampshire is exactly on point. I thank him for his contribution.

Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, I appreciate the Senator pointing those out in specific terms as to what the potential effect of this language might be. It is using a club to address an issue which is an issue, a concern, which is, obviously, our competitiveness as a society. But isn't the key to our competitiveness not to shut down markets, but to open markets, and to allow products which we make better than other countries to be sold into those countries?

Wouldn't this amendment in the end probably lead to a loss of jobs in the United States, not only from nations such as Japan saying they were not going to outsource their jobs, but our people who are employed in selling products overseas potentially losing their jobs?

Wouldn't it fundamentally undermine the whole concept of opening barriers for trade, creating more opportunities for trade and, as a result, lead to potentially a chilling environment which would have a huge impact on our economy, the largest in the world?

Mr. McCONNELL. I think the Senator from New Hampshire is precisely correct. It has been the policy of the leaders of both political parties in recent decades to break down barriers overseas, to expand trade, to move us into the global economy in a more and more dramatic fashion, the feeling being that America in the global economy can be a winner and is a winner.

I think the Senator from New Hampshire is precisely on target, and I thank him for his question.

Mr. GREGG. If I may ask an additional question, this is such a crucial issue. We hear now, from the patter of the national campaign on the other side of the aisle, that maybe we should move back toward protectionism. This amendment to me is a stalking dog for that sort of an attitude. It is colored by fairness and reasonableness. But as a practical matter, its effect will be to create retaliation, as we have discussed.

I guess my question is this: Are we a nation that believes we can compete in the world or aren't we? Are we a nation that believes our people are smarter, brighter, and more productive than anybody else in the world or aren't we?

I look at New Hampshire and I know our people are smarter, brighter, and more competitive. I look at Connecticut, a neighboring State which I know quite well. Every time I drive through Connecticut I am impressed. I know it is built on smart, bright people. I suspect that is the case in Kentucky, too.

My question is, Are we so fearful of our capacity to compete as a nation that we must put forward this new concept which we hear pattering from the other side of the aisle toward us of protectionism or should we follow what the great leaders of our Nation-Truman, Roosevelt, Franklin by the way, not Theodore, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton-stood for, which is that we are a nation that competes and competes well?

Mr. McCONNELL. We absolutely should stand for competition and be confident that our own people have the intelligence and the ingenuity and the energy to compete in the global economy.

I don't think we should be afraid of this at all. I think the Senator from New Hampshire is precisely on target. This is why the voting record of, say, for example, the Democratic nominee for President reflects a belief in free trade, a consistent pattern of voting for free trade agreements.

I hope this bipartisan support we have had for breaking down barriers and competing in the word market and moving in the direction of free trade will not be jeopardized in this Presidential election year.

Mr. GREGG. I appreciate the Senator's courtesy.

Mr. McCONNELL. I yield the floor.