Wyden, Collins Offer Bill to Authorize Trade Adjustment Assistance
WASHINGTON - Today, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced legislation for a six-year reauthorization of Trade Adjustment Assistance, a critical job training and worker assistance program that strengthens the American workforce and helps make certain the United States can continue to compete successfully in the global economy.
“I’m proud our bill expands Trade Adjustment Assistance programs to broad new segments of the workforce, including service workers and those in manufacturing, to receive training so they can better compete and win in the global economy. TAA is a critical component for our workforce, and expanded TAA should be prioritized in our trade policy.” Wyden said. “This bill we’re introducing today doubles job training funding. It makes the program whole after the recent cuts it faced in 2014 by supporting workers who were denied TAA or did not apply because they were ineligible to start to receive assistance right away. It also provides a backstop for our fishermen, farmers, and small businesses by providing for a long-term extension of their trade adjustment programs.”
“When the American workforce is negatively affected by foreign competition, we should ensure that opportunities and resources exist for affected employees to learn new skills. In Maine, TAA has been a crucial lifeline for many employees in trade-impacted industries who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. TAA has been able to provide these workers with job training and other critical services necessary to prepare for and successfully obtain new employment opportunities,” said Collins.“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Senator Wyden in this bipartisan effort to make certain that these essential programs continue to invest in the American workforce.”
Trade Adjustment Assistance provides necessary federal assistance to Americans who have been adversely affected by foreign competition. It can include training programs, skills assessments, and job search assistance.
According to the Department of Labor, Maine received $5.4 million and Oregon received nearly $16 million in TAA funding in 2013. Nationwide, the TAA program covered nearly 105,000 workers in 2013, the latest year where data is available.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Enhancement Act of 2015 would authorize the TAA programs under parameters that were set in a bipartisan, bicameral agreement in 2011. The bipartisan bill extends TAA programs through June 30, 2021 and would make new workers eligible for assistance to ensure employees in all sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, services and agriculture, receive the training and assistance they need. The bill also reinstates a critically important expired provision so workers can be eligible to receive TAA if their jobs were outsourced to countries where we do not have free-trade agreements, including India and China.
A summary of the bill can be found here. The bill text can be found here.
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