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Press Releases :: March 10, 2006

What Is Happening to American Jobs?

Science Democrats Seek Commerce Report on Jobs; Truth on Offshoring

U.S. House Science Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) led Committee Democrats in introducing a Resolution of Inquiry (H. Res. 717) to compel the Secretary of U.S. Commerce Department to divulge a copy of a report on off-shoring American jobs.

This report, titled Six-Month Assessment of Workforce Globalization in Certain Knowledge-Based Industries, was produced by analysts in the Office of the Technology Administration (TA) in 2004.  It represents the most thorough examination to date by the U.S. Government of the factors driving U.S. jobs offshore.

Explaining the need for this report, Rep. Gordon said, "The Congress is wrestling with ways to try to improve America’s competitive position, but we are working partially in the dark due to lack of information on the driving forces pushing American jobs to foreign countries.  American workers and Members of Congress deserve access to the best thinking by the best experts in the Federal Government as we push for solutions to help hardworking Americans."

Drafted between January and June 2004, the original TA offshoring report was nearly 200 pages in length and cost taxpayers $335,000.  Despite the cost and the time of government experts on the U.S. workforce, their full report was never made public.  Instead, the Department of Commerce produced a 12-page summary - well after the report’s original due date - that some TA analysts claim mischaracterizes their findings.

"Just as this administration has given science a back seat to political ideology, they are now concealing research that is preventing Congress from doing the best it can for working Americans," added Rep. David Wu (D-OR), Ranking Member of the ETS Subcommittee.

Ranking Member Gordon, along with Congressman Wu and Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL), has been trying to obtain a copy of the full report since May of 2005.  The Members have sent two letters to the Department of Commerce and have been turned down in their requests.  The Democratic Members also asked Science Committee Chairman Boehlert (R-NY) and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Ehlers (R-MI) to sign a document request demanding the report, but they have refused to do so.

"What is this Administration hiding?  On his recent trip to India, the President told audiences that offshoring was good for Americans.  That simple explanation is not going to fly with my constituents who are out of work here at home," added Rep. Gordon.  "This TA report was compiled at taxpayer expense, yet taxpayers are not benefiting from the information.  If the information in this report saves just one American job, our efforts will be worth it."

The Resolution of Inquiry, cosponsored by every Democratic Member of the Science Committee, would compel the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to produce a copy of the original report to Congress.  The Resolution has been referred to the Science Committee.

Under the rules of the House, a Resolution of Inquiry must be dealt with by the Committee within 14 legislative days of its referral.  The Committee may report the Resolution favorably, unfavorably or with no recommendation.  If the Chair does not call the Resolution up within 14 days, a Member may seek to have the motion discharged through a motion on the floor.

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