Lawmakers tout bill to bring jobs back to the US

Funds would be shifted from other programs within the Commerce Department to provide employers with up to $5,000 for each job created in an effort to provide a boost to already established state and local economic development programs. The plan would forgive $1,000 each year for five years of the incentive loan to ensure that employers stay put for at least that long, they said. Jobs would be set up within a rural or economically distressed region of the country.

"We think it's extra added value," Warner said. "It's not a huge number at this point," he said. "It has to supplement state and local efforts."

The measure would require business to relocate jobs back into the United States and wouldn't pay for firms to move from state to state. 

Business leaders have told the lawmakers that the gap between labor costs in the United States and in countries like China, India and Mexico are shrinking, and this type of loan program could provide the additional push needed to bring more companies back to the United States, Warner said. 

With costs rising abroad, the U.S. is becoming much more competitive, he said. 

"With 9.1 percent unemployment we have to go after some of these jobs that have gone abroad," he said. "The costs of hiring people here and abroad are coming closer together and we're trying to get those jobs back."

The proposed legislation also calls on the IRS and the Treasury to examine and possibly change tax codes at the state and federal levels to provide additional incentives to businesses interested in relocating from a foreign country. 

The bill has 10 House co-sponsors, six Republicans and four Democrats, and it will be part of a spending bill expected to reach the floor next month, Wolf said. 

The measure also calls for helping employers develop training and education programs for the specific jobs available at area businesses and strengthening programs that provide an industry-recognized credential for workers in the advanced manufacturing and information technology industries.

The bill also would expedite federal financing to allow certain qualifying companies to increase export capacity.

On Wednesday, President Obama announced a similar initiative between the federal government and industry to step up efforts to train and educate workers for the manufacturing sector. 

The administration's plan is to work with industry leaders to expand the Skills for America’s Future program that will give high school and college students a clearly defined set of skills and courses they'll need to get a job in the industry, provide new mentoring programs and scholarships for those interested in engineering, along with a new jobs website, the president said this week. 

“America’s competitors for these solid, good-paying manufacturing jobs are nations like India, China and Korea — countries which have consistently offered generous incentives to attract investment and jobs,” Warner said. “Our legislation provides more tools for states and localities, allowing them to ‘tip the balance’ by providing an additional financial incentive and a trained, qualified workforce as employers are considering where to open new factories and hire new workers.”

The lawmakers said the plan has been endorsed by several nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations including the The Council on Competitiveness, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Organization for International Investment. 

“A robust, high-tech American manufacturing sector is essential to advancing the economic recovery, enhancing our national security and creating a new era of job creation and long-term prosperity,” said Deborah Wince-Smith, president and chief executive of The Council on Competitiveness, in a statement.