WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and the Center for American Progress plan to hold President-elect Donald Trump accountable on his pledge to stop outsourcing and keep jobs in America with a new program dubbed “Trump Outsource Watch.”
The program, unveiled Thursday, will be managed by the center and will analyze media reports, regulatory filings and other resources to track the number of jobs being lost offshore during Trump’s tenure, said Neera Tanden, president and chief executive officer of CAP, a progressive public policy and advocacy organization.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), the incoming Senate minority leader, said in addition to launching the Trump Outsource Watch, “We are also here to challenge the President-elect to stick to his words on the campaign trail and work with Democrats and change our laws from stopping companies from shipping jobs overseas when there’s federal dollars being spent to buy here in America and employ American workers.”
Trump has pledged to impose tariffs of 35 percent on imports of companies that move offshore, a threat that has sparked concern in the business community and has already run into resistance from at least one prominent House leader.
Schumer did not address that specific punitive tariff proposal by Trump, but he did call for an “exit tax” to be paid by companies that move offshore.
“If a company abandons the U.S., it should pay an exit tax. They shouldn’t get a break on taxes for their moving expenses,” Schumer said. “We challenge the President-elect to work with us to pass these policies to protect American jobs.”
Schumer also laid down another challenge for Trump — to stand up to Congressional Republicans.
“Time and time again on the campaign trail the President-elect promised workers across the country he would stand up for jobs, protect jobs, prevent jobs from being shipped overseas. That is music to the ears of the middle class…it was music to the ears of Democrats,” Schumer said. “We’ve been fighting this fight for a long time. We’ve been pushing to change our trade laws, change our tax laws for years…Time and time again, we’ve been stymied by Republicans in Congress.”
Tanden called Trump out on his pledge to keep jobs in America while reportedly having his signature suit and tie collection made abroad, instead of in the U.S.
“Donald Trump promised that he would keep American jobs from being shipped overseas. We want him to keep that promise,” Tanden said at a press conference. “It’s hard to trust that talk on outsourcing when so many businesses he’s had have actually shipped jobs overseas.”
She said the center will not be tracking past outsourcing and took another jab at Trump.
“We will not be tracking information that has already happened, like when a company moves production of its suits to China as Trump did, or ties to Mexico as Trump did. That information will not be here,” she said sarcastically.
Tanden also pointed to Trump’s pick for Commerce Secretary, financier Wilbur Ross, as a reason why she and others are suspicious of the president-elect’s talk on outsourcing.
“Trump is naming folks for Commerce Secretary like billionaire Wilbur Ross, who has been dubbed the ‘king of bankruptcy’ for his history of buying troubled companies, laying off workers, closing down steel plants and factories and opening them up in places like Mexico and China,” she said.
Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) said he is also “suspect” of what the future holds under a Trump administration.
“Here we have a ceo who bought most of his products overseas. He is basically an outsource himself,” Peters said. “When it comes to steel, he buys Chinese steel as opposed to American steel.”
Peters criticized Trump for picking winners and losers among companies, pointing to his involvement in convincing air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier not to move jobs to Mexico. Carrier will receive $7 million in tax incentives over 10 years from the state of Indiana to keep the jobs in the U.S.
“We had a President-elect doing a photo-op with one company,” Peters said. “We need a lot more than a photo-op. We need a comprehensive manufacturing policy. This is about a comprehensive policy to make sure every American company, not just companies that are picked as winners when the others are losers, but every American worker has the opportunity to have that good job.”
Trump’s communication transition team did not respond to a request for comment.
Also on Thursday, Trump announced Andy Puzder, ceo of CKE Restaurants, the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, as his choice for Secretary of Labor.
Puzder has been opposed to the Obama administration’s rule to expand overtime pay that is currently caught up in a legal dispute between a broad business coalition and several states and the Department of Labor. He is also opposed to a minimum wage increase, particularly the campaign by fast-food workers for a $15 an hour minimum wage.