February 24,2009

Press Contact:

Carol Guthrie, (202) 224-4515

Baucus "Ready to Work" with Solis to Implement Expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance

Finance Chairman Baucus expresses support for incoming Labor Secretary

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today congratulated Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) on her Senate confirmation to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. Baucus said he is ready to work with the new Labor Secretary to implement a major improvement and expansion of Trade Adjustment Assistance, which was signed into law last week aspart of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“American workers are facing some huge challenges today, and I'm glad they'll have a Labor Secretary on the job who's ready to fight for them,” Baucus said. “My priority in working with the incoming Secretary will be to make certain that the actual expansion and improvement of Trade Adjustment Assistance lives up to the good agreement that I worked to forge together with Senator Grassley,Chairman Rangel, and Congressman Camp. The new and improved TAA will help more American workers to improve their skills and to compete in this economy. Today's confirmation is an important step in helping American workers get back to work at good-paying jobs here at home.”

Trade helps to create many good, well-paid American jobs. But in cases when trade has negative effects, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provides extended income and training benefits to workers. The new law improves and expands Trade Adjustment Assistance in significant ways. TAA will now beavailable to trade-affected workers in the services sector – which comprise 80 percent of the U.S. workforce – as well as to workers whose jobs shift to all countries, not just those with which the United States has certain trade agreements. The law also increases assistance available to American businesses seeking to avoid trade-related layoffs by retooling for the global marketplace. Worker training fundsavailable to states will increase by 160 percent, and the law creates a new TAA program to help trade affected communities. The measure also allows for automatic TAA eligibility for workers suffering from import surges and unfair trade, makes training, healthcare and reemployment TAA benefits more accessible and flexible, and improves the TAA for Farmers program. All Trade Adjustment Assistance programs are now authorized through December 31, 2010.


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