FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a signing event for an executive order on “hiring American” in a darkened Cabinet Room of the White House with curtains drawn and the lights low in Washington, U.S., August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday to ensure Americans are offered federal jobs ahead of foreign workers. The move comes after the Tennesse Valley Authority (TVA) announced it would outsource 20% of its technology jobs to foreign companies. The White House estimates nearly 200 highly skilled workers in the state could find their jobs replaced by recipients of H-1B visas in the transition. “Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board. If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words: ‘You’re fired,’” President Trump said in a news conference before signing the executive order. 

President Trump already suspended the approval of new H1-B visas for the year, prompting criticism from major tech companies that rely on highly-skilled foreign workers. U.S. Tech Workers, a non-profit organization with a goal to “protect the American workforce and work for major reform of the H-1B visa program,” has been at the forefront of the argument. The organization met with President Trump to defend American jobs in the wake of record unemployment.  Nearly 60% of Americans want to prevent both foreign guest workers from entering the country in the wake of COVID-19, according to an NPR-Ipsos poll. About two-thirds of Republicans are more likely to support the initiative, compared to 47% of Democrats.

The TVA has been under fire previously for its employee compensation. CEO Jeff Lyash is currently the highest-paid federal employee in the U.S., bringing in about $8 million per year. President Trump appointed Lyash in 2017 and has since sought to oust him over his salary. Although it is a federal agency, the TVA “receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity.” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., criticized the White House for spreading misinformation and defended TVA energy rates as “among the lowest in the nation.” 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Government Employs H-1B Workers Despite ‘Hire American’ Pledge – Bloomberg Law – 10/24/2019
A Bloomberg Law analysis of the DOL data shows more than 2,000 H-1B workers approved by the DOL in the first nine months of fiscal year 2019 were meant to be placed by staffing companies in jobs in the federal government. DOL approval is a critical requirement before a worker can be placed. The number represents a tiny fraction of the estimated 4 million-strong federal contractor workforce…

A new executive order escalates Trump’s attack on H-1B visas for foreign workers – Fortune – 8/4/2020
The new order does not represent a significant policy shift but rather escalates Trump’s assault on the U.S.’s H-1B visa program for high-skilled foreign workers, the vast majority of whom are from India. The president has ramped up his criticism of the H-1B program in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread joblessness and decimated the economy on which he’d hung his reelection bid. […] Monday’s order also made an example of a single organization, the Tennessee Valley Authority or TVA, which had planned to outsource some of its technology contracts to companies with foreign workers.

Supporters Celebrate H-1B Reforms: ‘This Is Why America Elected Trump!’ – Breitbart – 8/3/2020
“Any time America First wins over Open Borders Inc. is a cause for celebration. President Trump deserves thanks and praise for demanding that American federal agencies put American contract workers first. It’s elementary in ordinary times. It’s a matter of economic urgency in COVID times and it’s an escalating issue of national security with so much of America’s health and medical data accessible to cheap foreign IT workers from China and India.” [said John Miano, co-author of Sold Out].

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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