The Senate on Tuesday decisively rejected a bill that Democrats said would have restricted the ability of U.S. companies to send jobs overseas.
Members voted 53-45 for the legislation, seven short of the 60 votes need to break a Republican filibuster. Forty GOP senators voted against the bill, along with four Democrats and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.).
The four Democrats who crossed the aisle to oppose the bill were Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Warner of Virginia. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) were not present for the vote.
The failure of the legislation was expected; mindful of the likely defections from within their party, Democratic leaders were privately acknowledging defeat on Monday.
Democrats used the vote to portray Republicans as insensitive to the needs of American workers.
“The bill we tried to pass today is based on simple common sense: to keep American jobs here in America, we should stop forcing taxpayers in Nevada and across the nation to pay for giveaways that reward companies for sending American jobs overseas,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said.
“But Republicans continued their job-killing agenda today by protecting these tax breaks for CEOs who offshore American jobs and preserving the same failed Republican policies that cost 8 million Americans their jobs,” Reid said.
Republicans countered that the bill was an election-year gambit that would have undermined job creation with new regulations and tax hikes.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the majority is showing how desperate they are with a bill that increases the tax burden on job creators and ship much-needed U.S. jobs overseas,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
“This proposal is the height of irresponsibility putting our economy at greater risk. Raising taxes on companies’ overseas profits will just incentivize them to move their domestic facilities to another country. That’s not the prescription that will cure our ailing economy,” Hatch said.
The bill was aimed at small manufacturers and included a payroll tax exemption for companies that move jobs to the U.S. But it also contained provisions to prevent businesses from deferring U.S. taxes on the income they make from foreign subsidiaries.
Business groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) were strongly opposed to the legislation, dubbed the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act. NAM sent a letter to Senators on Friday arguing the measure would make U.S. corporations less competitive and hurt job creation.