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Democrats call on Trump to stop companies from offshoring jobs

"Taxpayer funds should go to companies that hire American workers."

Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) and a group of nine other Democratic senators are calling on Trump to address the problem of offshoring jobs. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) and a group of nine other Democratic senators are calling on Trump to address the problem of offshoring jobs. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In a letter on this week, a group of Democratic senators urged President Trump to take executive action on the issue of off-shoring jobs — specifically call center jobs.

The letter, provided to ThinkProgress on Tuesday, was signed by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) along with nine of his Democratic colleagues, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Heidie Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jon Tester (D-MT).

“By issuing an Executive Order, you can take an immediate step to prevent federal government contracts from being awarded to companies that offshore U.S. call center jobs by utilizing call centers in foreign countries. Taxpayer funds should go to companies that hire American workers,” the senators wrote.

A number of the senators who signed Tuesday’s letter also wrote Trump last year with the same concerns. After recent reports revealed call center jobs remain at risk of being shipped overseas, they said they thought it best to reiterate their initial demands.

In March, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents nearly 600,000 workers in the telecommunication industry, released a report that revealed the banking industry as one of the leading practitioners of offshoring call center and customer service jobs to low wage countries.

“The nation’s largest banks cut (at least 8,000) jobs over the second half of 2017,” the report states.

The number of support staff in India for four U.S. investment banks — Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citi — also rose 50 percent between 2008 and 2015 to more than 12,500.

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The revelation comes as big banks are expected to receive a huge tax windfall from the GOP tax bill, which was passed in December. Financial institutions like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs saved roughly $3.6 billion in the most recent quarter because of that legislation.

A Congressional Budget Office report released last month also suggests corporations may be incentivized to offshore “tangible assets” like factories and offices. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities similarly found that the plan is “likely to lead to more outsourcing of U.S. jobs and a larger trade deficit” due to its tax cuts for overseas profits.

At the moment, there are several proposed legislative fixes in the House and Senate that would directly address the loss of call center jobs to other countries. The “No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act,” for instance, was recently introduced by in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and in the Senate by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The legislation is aimed at reversing the offshore incentives in the GOP tax bill.

Additionally, Sens. Casey and Brown have sponsored legislation, called the “United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act,” which would make U.S. companies that send call center jobs offshore ineligible for certain taxpayer-funded grants and loans. The bill would give U.S. customers a right to know where they are calling and the ability to be transferred to a U.S.-based location.

In their letter on Tuesday letter, the 10 senators lobbying President Trump to act on offshoring jobs also urged him to support their efforts to pass the latter legislation.

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“We are all cosponsors of the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which would address this problem legislatively […],” they wrote.