In the first week of the new Congress, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is attempting to win support for a controversial H-1B reform bill.
The bill, introduced Wednesday, is called the "Protect and Grow American Jobs Act" (HR 170) and co-sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). It is aimed at tightening, but not closing, a loophole in the visa law that has benefitted large H-1B-using firms.
Issa introduced this bipartisan bill last July. It faced some criticism and stalled in committee. The big difference this year is the impending inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Trump has made clear that he wants to reform the H-1B program and appears open to legislation that accomplishes that goal.
But the reform measure pitched again by Issa may not go far enough for Trump based on ideas he outlined in the 2016 campaign.
Issa's legislation, which he said is in response to IT worker displacements at Southern California Edison and Disney, focuses on an 18-year-old loophole in the law.
In 1998, Congress adopted legislation approving a visa cap increase that also prohibited firms from displacing U.S. workers if they employed 15% or more visa workers.
The law also required a "good faith" effort by companies to first hire a U.S. worker. But in that same bill, lawmakers torpedoed these protections. U.S. workers can be displaced by...
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