Paul Krugman points out in today's column that Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) have effectively gutted much of the stimulative impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Luckily, the Buy America provisions survived the Collins-Nelson Fleet Streeting of the Stimulus, as did the Sanders-Grassley amendment, which was passed unanimously by voice vote. For companies receiving TARP funds, it restricts their ability to cite labor shortages in their hiring of H-1B workers from abroad. The idea is that Microsoft shouldn't be able to layoff thousands of workers and then come to Congress citing engineer labor shortages in their quest to import foreign workers that are covered by weaker labor rights. (Text below).
Sec. 1610. Hiring American workers in companies receiving TARP funding.
(a) Short Title- This section may be cited as the `Employ American Workers Act'.
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be unlawful for any recipient of funding under title I of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-343) or section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 342 et seq.) to hire any nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(h)(i)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(h)(i)(b)) unless the recipient is in compliance with the requirements for an H-1B dependent employer (as defined in section 212(n)(3) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(3))), except that the second sentence of section 212(n)(1)(E)(ii) of such Act shall not apply.
(2) DEFINED TERM- In this subsection, the term `hire' means to permit a new employee to commence a period of employment.
(c) Sunset Provision- This section shall be effective during the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.