Following State of the Union, Cicilline Calls on Speaker Boehner to Expedite Consideration of Make it in America Block Grant Program Act and Offshoring Prevention Act

Jan 25, 2012

In a letter, Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) today urged Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to expedite consideration of the Make it in America Block Grant Program Act and the Offshoring Prevention Act, two bills currently pending in the House of Representatives, in order to provide new resources to manufacturers and close loopholes that cut taxes for companies that move jobs overseas.

“In his speech, the President told Congress that we must seize this moment to finally give the middle class a fair shake,” said Cicilline.  “If we are serious about getting our economy moving again, then we should move quickly to pass these bills to reinvigorate American manufacturing and stop the practice of handing out tax breaks to corporations that move American jobs to other countries.  I am calling on the House Republican leadership to move now on this legislation.”

The President’s State of the Union address emphasized the importance of growing American manufacturing jobs, retraining the workforce, and ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas – proposals Cicilline has championed in his first term in the House.

In 2011, Cicilline introduced the Make it in America Block Grant Program Act, which would provide grants to small and medium-sized manufacturers to allow them to retool their factories and retrain workers to compete in the 21st century.  In addition, Cicilline also introduced the Offshoring Prevention Act last year to revise the Internal Revenue Code so that corporations moving American jobs to other countries no longer enjoy tax breaks.  Both bills are currently awaiting consideration in House committees.

The full text of Cicilline’s letter is embedded below.

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Dear Speaker Boehner:

Last evening, President Obama spoke about an American economy built upon manufacturing. He encouraged helping manufacturers with financing to relocate in communities that have been hardest hit by this economy, eliminating energy waste through incentives to upgrade their buildings, and generating new jobs through the production of clean energy, high-technology, and other advanced products. The President also called upon Congress to finally put an end to tax policies that reward businesses shipping jobs overseas and focus on innovation, investments in our infrastructure, and workforce training.

Today, I write to you not as a Democrat, but as an American and a Rhode Islander. Regardless of party affiliation or political ideology, we all share a common belief that Congress has no greater responsibility than putting our country back to work. In light of the urgent need for action in support of our nation’s manufacturers, small businesses, and the unemployed, I write to request the expedited consideration of several common-sense job creating initiatives currently pending in the House of Representatives.

There are currently two bills I have introduced that are pending in the House – the Make It In America Block Grant Program Act (H.R. 1912) and the Offshoring Prevention Act (H.R. 2280). Especially in Rhode Island, which lost more than 11,000 manufacturing jobs during this recent recession, we need to ensure that we can take advantage of new manufacturing opportunities and market conditions.  That’s why I introduced the Make It in America Block Grant Program Act, to provide competitive grants to help small to medium-sized manufacturers hardest hit by the Great Recession retool, retrofit their facilities, and train employees so they can maintain their current workforce, create new jobs, and better compete in the 21st century economy.

Like many of my colleagues throughout the country, for too long now I have heard the unceasing call from businesses large and small, and constituents from every walk of life, urging Congress to focus its efforts on job creation. With unemployment in my state reaching 10.8 percent, and as our nation’s unemployment rate hovers around 8.5 percent, it is time for Congress to heed the concerns from Main Street and concentrate on the important work of enacting meaningful job creation legislation.

While we should be working to restore manufacturing, our tax code inexplicably rewards companies that offshore manufacturing jobs.  Under current law, a U.S. company that moves operations overseas can delay the payment of U.S. income taxes, a benefit that we do not offer to companies struggling to keep factories open at home. The Offshoring Prevention Act, which I have introduced in the House, would close these loopholes so that companies have a greater incentive to keep jobs here in the United States.

These measures will provide new resources and incentives to manufacturers and close tax loopholes that encourage companies to move jobs abroad. Both pieces of legislation have Senate companions and are prudent measures that would support American industry, strengthen our middle class, create and retain jobs, and set our economy on a firmer path to recovery.

While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the best approach and the appropriate role for government in creating jobs, it is the responsibility of this institution to bring a variety of proposals to the floor, to engage in the necessary debate and exchange of ideas, attempt to find common ground, and reach agreement on initiatives that will put Americans back to work.

Everyone, from Rhode Island to California, knows that Washington can do better.  We need to tear down barriers of disadvantage and build ladders of opportunity for every American willing to work hard, be responsible, and play by the rules. I urge you to expedite consideration of these bills and measures like them so that we can finally put our economy back on the right track.

Sincerely,

David N. Cicilline
Member of Congress