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Senate Democrats' target: Outsourced jobs

By Jennifer Liberto and Dana Bash

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- Senate Democrats plan to propose legislation this week aimed at cracking down on companies that move jobs offshore, congressional sources tell CNN.

Senate Democrats plan to force a vote on legislation next week that would create a payroll tax break for companies that hire U.S. workers in place of foreign workers. The bill would also raise taxes for companies that move jobs and plants overseas.

Details are scarce on the specifics of the tax breaks and penalties. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set the procedure rolling Tuesday evening, in a move that could force a vote on the issue next week, according to congressional records.

With less than two weeks left before the Senate breaks for the fall elections, Democrats have been working to squeeze in couple of votes that could help them in November, even if they don't get past a Republican filibuster. Democrats are also trying to get a vote on extending middle class tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year.

Under the incentive program, employers could get a two-year break on their Social Security payroll taxes on wages paid to new U.S. employees who have been hired to replace workers doing the same job overseas, according to a congressional summary. Employers would be eligible if they hire new employees during a three-year period starting Sept. 22.

The penalties would prevent companies from taking a tax deduction, loss or credit if they end business in the United States and start a similar one overseas. The bill allows firms to apply to the Treasury Secretary to appeal the tax penalty for moves overseas that don't result in loss of U.S. jobs.

The other tax penalty would target the ability for U.S. companies to defer taxes on income earned by foreign subsidiaries until that income is brought back to the United States. The legislation would repeal the tax deferral for firms that reduce or close a business in the United States and start or expand a similar business overseas.

It's unknown how much the proposals would cost and how much money the new tax penalties would raise, as the Joint Committee on Taxation hasn't analyzed the proposal yet.

Republicans have been against raising taxes, especially given the sputtering economic recovery.

Senate Democrats met last week with senior White House officials to talk about messaging that pushed "Made in America," and policies that would stop jobs from moving overseas.

Earlier this month, President Obama proposed a jobs creation proposal that aimed to invest money in infrastructure while closing tax breaks for overseas companies.

Jennifer Liberto is a senior writer at CNNMoney.com. Dana Bash is senior congressional correspondent at CNN. To top of page

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