Dem calls for extension of training assistance for workers

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) called on Congress to immediately extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program when it returns in January.

Levin said portions of 2009 reforms expired in the new year. The program helps retrain workers who may have lost their jobs because of trade partnerships or outsourcing.

“TAA is our commitment to workers competing in a globalized economy and we must immediately extend the improvements that we made in 2009 when Congress returns,” Levin said Tuesday.

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Levin said the pre-2009 program continues for another year, but that changes made in 2009 expired Wednesday.

He said workers adversely affected by imports from trading partners, such as China, will no longer be eligible for TAA and that a supplemental program for older workers will end. Funding for training will be cut in half if Congress doesn’t act.

Levin said it was important to extend the programs’ training provision because it will aid in the economic recovery and reduce the unemployment rate, which is hovering around 7 percent.

Lawmakers resume legislative work on Jan. 6, but for the first half of the month Congress is expected to work on passing an omnibus spending bill to keep the government open.