Cindy Axne

U.S. Representative Cindy Axne

(Washington, D.C.) -- A bill sponsored by Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne that would require corporations to report where they outsource jobs to has passed the House.

By a 226-to-184 margin, the Outsourcing Accountability Act of 2019 passed the House Friday morning. The bill was introduced by Axne in response to Wells Fargo -- which is headquarted in Des Moines -- laying off nearly 400 workers to outsource their positions.

"I heard from dozens of laid off employees who were directed to train their replacements overseas," Axne said on the House Floor Friday. "Across the country, corporations are shipping jobs overseas, leaving American workers high and dry just to benefit their bottom line."

She says currently there are no reporting requirements for corporations who outsource jobs to other countries.

"If a company lays off 500 workers in Iowa and then hires 1,000 in India, their annual report would show that they added 500 jobs, when in reality, hard-working Iowans are left unemployed and wondering how they are going to pay their bills," said Axne.

If a position is eliminated due to outsourcing, the laid off employee is currently eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance, which includes training and support for American workers. However, Axne says companies often don't tell laid off employees that their jobs were outsourced, meaning they don't qualify for additional assistance.

"Far too often, companies are more concerned with protecting their public image than protecting workers and are reluctant to notify laid-off workers that their job has been outsourced," said Axne. "We've seen this happen time and time again. My bill -- the Outsourcing Accountability Act -- would simply require public companies to include in their annual report where their employees are located by state and country."

Republican opponents of the bill said added a reporting requirement to corporations could create an undue burden. Axne says tracking employees is something corporations are already doing.

"If a corporation isn't already tracking where in the world their employees are located, for God's sake they have got bigger problems than this legislation," said Axne. "One of the most difficult things about trying to address outsourcing and offshoring is that it is so hard to get information about how many jobs it affects."

The bill passed on a nearly party-line vote with two Republicans also in support. You can read the full text of the bill here.