Lauding defeat of US anti-outsourcing bill premature

September 30, 2010

The Senate might have quashed Democrat plans to force U.S. firms to produce jobs and profits at home, rather than overseas, but India Inc is wrong to think the danger has passed.Indian employees at a call centre provide service support to international customers in Bangalore March 17, 2004. REUTERS/Sherwin Crasto/Files

Over the past few weeks, India’s newspapers have been littered with stories surrounding U.S. President Barack Obama’s comments on curbing outsourcing, and India Inc’s gross indignation at the White House’s intentions.

No surprise, then, to see bullish headlines following the Senate vote that effectively ended legislation dubbed the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act. ‘India Inc cheers defeat of anti-outsourcing bill in US‘, ran one leading daily, while another led with ‘Anti-outsourcing Bill dies a quiet death in the US‘. Death is wide of the mark.

With the crucial November mid-term elections looming, the biggest issue for U.S. voters is the economy, with many angry that the lauded economic stimulus Bill passed last year has not prevented the unemployment rate rising above 10 percent. The ball is in Obama’s court, and if he can’t rectify the situation, the Democrats will likely suffer at the hands of the electorate in two months’ time.

Thus for the Republicans — who if in power would surely be contemplating similar anti-outsourcing legislation to appease angry voters seeing jobs flourish in Bangalore instead of Baltimore — the goal is to show Obama and the Democrats as an incapable party, unable to govern and unable to fix the problems. And that means blocking legislation.

The Senate voted 53-45 for the bill, far short the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, with four Democrats crossing the aisle. Democrats portrayed the Republicans as “job-killers” afterwards, but no political analyst would deny that Republicans play the patriot card far more often than their opponents.

This wasn’t all about jobs, it was also about politics. And that’s why India Inc is not out of the woods yet.

After November, when the dust settles and – most likely – Obama faces a Clinton-like situation of governing over a split legislature for the remainder of his term, the public will demand political compromise to improve the economy.

Then, with far less gains to be had in playing politics, and the rise of the far-right Tea Party to counter, both sides may well favour a bill that protects American jobs at the expense of those elsewhere.

4 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

This will always remain a Democrat issue, most always at election times. Kerry blasted away at outsourcing and Bangalore during his campaign. Obama, uses India, bangalore, Hyderabad as an escape route whenever he is in a tight corner discussing jobs and unemployment or education. I think it will continue to remain so.

However, I disagree that it will also be on the republican platter – they have never brought it up to my knowledge.

If it is more about politics than jobs, I think India Inc can in fact breathe easier. Because if it is more political, then we will see more rhetoric rather than actions.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

I often wonder just how lost we Americans are these days.. How removed from reality Washington DC is from the mainstream.. and maybe just how misconceived we are as a nation to others.
The comment of “It will always remain a Democrat issue, most always at election times” concerning the Senate vote that effectively ended legislation dubbed the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act is something both parties had better pay attention to!

What is REALLY at Stake is an American issue! USA!

Even if the greedy Republicans cant understand that and the Democrats don’t want to move on it.. There will be an up swell.. That even Caesar couldn’t control! Some call it the T-Party. Some compare it to the Ross Paroe (sp?) movement of the previous years..

But more and more the working population is getting very tired of solutions that don’t work. Beware!

Posted by GraceTime | Report as abusive

I am very concerned regarding American middle class manufacturing jobs. I know the Republicans do not give a hoot; every one of them is in the pocket of Big Corporations and Wall Street. I expected more early on from the Democrats they were in control why did they get side tracked? Are they in the pocket of Big Business and Wall Street also? I fear it is too late now the Democrats has lost the independent voters. The independents are the swing vote in the USA today. The independents understand if Free Trade and the WTO is not stopped! America is doomed to the wealthy elite, the low income earners and the poor. It seems the Democrats used the legislation to energize the base just prior to the election. The Democrats just missed an opportunity. The Democrats choose instead to ignore the obvious reason they were put in office, to put their energy into the social agenda, when it was about jobs stupid!!!

Posted by currywkr | Report as abusive

Outsourcing hurts all Americans!!

Don’t be fooled, corporations and foreign governments are heavily lobbying congress through outsourcing/H1B advocate organizations. Don’t let corporations and foreign governments be the only voice that congress hears. Call your local representatives and senators today. You can also visit and contribute to the American Engineering Organization to make sure your voice is heard: http://www.aea.org/

Posted by abe_froman1979 | Report as abusive