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House Democrats pushing for long-term TAA funding

House Democrats will continue pushing for a long-term reauthorization of a program that helps workers who lose their jobs to foreign trade. 

Even though the $1.1 trillion spending measure making its way through Congress includes the full request of $711 million for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, Democrats say it is missing key components of their legislative proposal.

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“Trade Adjustment Assistance is critically important to so many hard working Americans and we will continue to push for its full restoration," said Rep. Sander LevinSander (Sandy) Martin LevinFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Here are Kamala Harris's K Street connections Warren gets endorsements from 45 Michigan officeholders, activists MORE (D-Mich.) on Friday.

The so-called cromnibus, which passed the House on Thursday night and is awaiting Senate approval, also allows workers who aren't certified until the new year as TAA-eligible to receive benefits.

The bill funds the program through Sept. 30. 

Earlier in the week, 32 House Democrats — led by Levin and bill co-sponsor Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithBernie Sanders goes after Elon Musk for wanting to explore space OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Pentagon unveils policies reversing Trump's transgender ban l Top US military officer calls Russia, Ukraine over 'concerns' about troop buildup Trump Afghan pullout deal unachievable, says ex-Pentagon leader MORE (D-Wash.) — sent a letter to House leaders urging them to reauthorize the TAA program, which was set to expire at year's end.

Democrats note that the TAA bill provides more benefits to displaced workers in the spending bill for 2015.

The House measure would expand who is eligible for the program, reinstate TAA benefits for service workers and firms and extend a health insurance tax credit. 

At the end of 2013, service workers lost their eligibility to be certified as a class for TAA benefits, as did service firms.

The Levin-Smith bill was introduced in March.

A recently introduced Senate measure would extend the TAA program through the end of 2020 and return funding to 2009 levels.

Democrats cite statistics showing that 75 percent of workers in the TAA program got a job within six months and 90 percent of them kept their jobs.

TAA provides training assistance and income support as well as job search and relocation assistance.

Additional programs assist farmers, fishermen and manufacturing firms with the development and implementation of business plans to enable them to regain a competitive foothold in the economy.