Sen. Sherrod Brown’s legislation also seeks to remove a tax incentive for offshoring auto jobs.
Earlier this summer, General Motors announced it is cutting a shift at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, leading to 1,500 layoffs. On the very same day, GM also announced it is bringing back its popular Chevy Blazer SUV… and building it in Mexico.
GM’s move was a one-two punch to many of Buckeye State autoworkers, and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) even slammed GM for the decision in a speech on the Senate floor.
Now Brown is aiming to find new ways to support American autoworkers. He recently introduced the American Cars, American Jobs Act, which would establish a two-year program to give customers a $3,500 discount when they buy vehicles that qualify as Made in America.
To be eligible for the discount, vehicles must be assembled in the United States and contain at least 45 percent materials from the United States and Canada. Nearly 100 autos make the cut, including vehicles from American mainstays like GM and Ford to newer brands like Tesla to foreign companies with an American manufacturing footprint like Nissan, Volkswagen and even Mercedes-Benz. People who sign up for five-year leases also would qualify for the discount.
Consumers would receive their discount at the dealership, and auto dealers would be reimbursed by the U.S. government. An individual can only receive one rebate from the program.
In addition, the measure also would revoke a special tax cut on overseas profits for auto manufacturers that send jobs abroad. Current tax law allows some overseas profits to be taxed at a 10.5 percent rate, rather than the full 21 percent rate. Removing this tax break would remove incentives for offshoring jobs, according to Brown.
“We shouldn’t be handing out 50 percent coupons to companies that send jobs overseas,” Brown said.
Brown has spent the past few weeks touting the legislation in his home state, including at a meeting with local autoworkers in Lordstown on Aug. 17, where the bill earned the support of local officials like Mayor Arno Hill and Mayor Doug Franklin of nearby Warren, Ohio.
“What will happen over time is these companies will realize, maybe we ought to stay in Lordstown, maybe we ought to stay in Cleveland, maybe we ought to stay in Toledo,” Brown said.