Faced with criticism that companies didn't use proceeds of a 2004 tax holiday to create jobs directly, advocates for repeating the policy are emphasizing the indirect economic effects of repatriating more than $1 trillion.

Whether the money is used for hiring or stock buybacks, "I would much rather have their foreign earnings here rather than in, say, France," said Kenneth Kies, a tax lobbyist at the Federal Policy Group in Washington whose clients include Microsoft Corp. and Pfizer Inc.

Those companies, along with Apple Inc., Google Inc., and Qualcomm Inc., are part of a coalition urging Congress to temporarily reduce the tax rate on profits held overseas. They want a repeat of a 2004 law that let companies pay 5.25 percent, instead of 35 percent, when they bring that cash to the U.S.

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