Dems unveil trade adjustment assistance bill

A trio of House and Senate lawmakers unveiled legislation that would help workers who lose their jobs because of global trade. 

Reps. Sandy Levin (Mich.) and Adam Smith (Wash.), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced legislation to extend through 2020 the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which expires at the end of 2015. 

{mosads}The measure would renew an expansion of the program made as part of the 2009 stimulus bill. It would provide assistance for thousands of service industry workers, as well those who lose their jobs because of trade with countries the United States does not have trade agreements with, such as China.

The bill also would extend the program to help affected businesses.

“The extension of the basic TAA program at the end of the year while welcome did not address several key improvements that are vital to assisting an expanded group of trade impacted workers,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

“Our commitment to displaced workers and the value of the TAA program stands on its own merits and should not be held up by other trade debates,” they said.

The program is a top priority for congressional Democrats and it is expected to be considered separately from the debate and action on trade promotion authority. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said there have been discussions around another TAA bill.

Ryan has emphasized that he wants to move fast-track legislation on its own and that it other trade policy objectives would be considered separately.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the “program has a history of success helping U.S. workers get back on their feet when their jobs are off-shored.”

“When workers lose their jobs through no fault of their own, they need the support of this program. And we owe it to them to prevent TAA from being linked to the undemocratic Fast Track process, which paves the way for fewer jobs and lower wages.”

Tags Adam Smith Adam Smith Fast track Paul Ryan Richard Trumka Sander Levin Sherrod Brown Sherrod Brown Trade Adjustment Assistance

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