The U.S. Chamber of Outsourcing

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come under heavy fire this month. First, a report at the Center for American Progress alleged that the business associated has used donations and membership dues to fund political activity in the U.S. Now one of the top officials in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is calling the Chamber out for what it is: one of the biggest outsourcing advocates in the nation.

Jon Vogel, executive director of the DCCC, pointed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s pro-outsourcing agenda during a forum Tuesday at the National Journal.

“The Chamber has an agenda, and it’s aimed at promoting outsourcing of American jobs, and spending money against those who stood against them,” he said, according to The Daily Caller.

Vogel was ridiculed by his counterpart, Guy Harrison, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, for his comment. Harrison claimed that the fact that U.S. is in the Chamber’s name makes it inherently impossible that the organization supports the outsourcing of American jobs, according to The Daily Caller.

The facts, however, belie Harrison’s claim.

Just last month, the Chamber lobbied vigorously to defeat the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act, which would have given companies a two-year payroll tax holiday, reducing the amount of Social Security taxes they would have to pay, for new employees who replace workers doing similar jobs overseas. The bill would have also ended tax provisions that encourage the outsourcing of jobs.

“Replacing a job that is based in another country with a domestic job does not stimulate economic growth or enhance the competitiveness of American worldwide companies,” Chamber executive vice president Bruce Josten claimed in a letter to senators.

When the $787 billion stimulus bill was passed, the Chamber fought tooth and nail to ensure that a provision requiring that all stimulus projects include only Americans-made products and services was not included.

Even after the Chamber and other business interests were able to successfully water-down the clause to the point that it only covered American-made steel products, the Chamber still fought to remove the clause.

“We need to fix the Buy American rules, which have delayed stimulus projects and new hiring, while also risking trade retaliation against our workers and businesses,” President Tom Donohue said at the time.

Donohue, the public face of the Chamber, has not been about expressing his support for the outsourcing of American jobs.

“American companies employ 140 million Americans,” he said in a CNN interview in 2004. “They provide health care for 160 million Americans. They provide training in terms of 40 billion a year. The outsourcing deal over three or four or five years and the two or three sets of numbers are only going to be, you know, maybe two, maybe three million jobs, maybe four.”

Only three or four million jobs? No big deal, Donahue said. Unless, of course, one of those jobs were his own.

“One job sent overseas, if it happens to be my job, is one too many,” he told The Associated Press in 2004.

Nor does Donohue have much faith in the American people. Instead of blaming the true culprit of the outsourcing pandemic – failed trade policies that encourage the practice – Donahue blamed the American people themselves.

“The big fundamental issue that we need to understand is we are short of skills in this country,” he said.

While Donahue probably wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude to make that same statement while the unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, there is no doubt that he and the Chamber would be at the forefront of any battle to curtail outsourcing.

“They oppose countering unfair and unlawful practices abroad,” Michael Stumo of the Coalition for a Prosperous American wrote on TradeReform.org in January. “They oppose a national trade strategy that benefits U.S. farmers, businesses and workers. They ignore foreign strategic mercantilism that dumps products here based upon artificial “cheapness” caused by currency, VAT, shoddy manufacturing, and subsidy practices. They protect the protectionism of others.”

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