Thursday, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-MI) introduced the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Act of 2014 to provide critical job training and worker assistance for Americans who have lost their jobs due to increased competition in the global marketplace.
The U.S. manufacturing, service, farming, and fishing sectors have been hit hard with declines in employment, and American workers need support and training to secure new employment. At the beginning of this year, TAA expired for thousands of service industry workers affected by trade, as well as for workers losing their jobs due to imports from countries including China. If Congress doesn’t reauthorize TAA by the end of the year, the entire program will expire.
“Our nation’s economy and success depend on our workers,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “As we continue to recover from the economic crisis and adapt to a rapidly changing economy, it is critical that we update and improve the TAA program to help workers transition. In the face of greater global competition, we need to provide training, income support, and healthcare to help displaced workers adjust and enhance their skills for new jobs and careers.”
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act would ensure that TAA eligibility is available to workers and firms in the services and manufacturing sectors, workers whose firms shift production to (or are adversely affected by imports from) FTA and non-FTA countries, U.S. suppliers of component parts, public sector workers, and farmers and fishermen. The bill also invests in American workers by restoring comprehensive levels of benefits in areas such as job training, case management, income support, and job search and relocation allowances that are critical to workers adversely affected by increased global competition.
Mr. Levin added, “It is urgent that we reinstate the full TAA program for dislocated workers who are building new careers for themselves. As we seek to fully benefit from globalization we must maintain structures that allow us to address its challenges for the workers and firms who are prepared to compete when they are given the tools to do so.”
Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles Rangel agreed. He noted that “we need to continue to give dislocated workers the option of improving their skills, or learning new ones, as part of our commitment to making sure the American worker benefits from globalization.”
Congress created the TAA program in 1962 in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans as a result of increasing global competition as well as to promote American competitiveness. TAA benefits have several components: training assistance, income support while in training, and job search and relocation assistance. The program assists workers dislocated by the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade. Additional programs assist farmers, fishermen, and firms with the development and implementation of business plans to enable them to regain a competitive foothold.
Rep. Derek Kilmer added, “As someone with over a decade of experience in economic development, I know that job training is a key catalyst for job growth. Our workers and employers have to compete with those of countries around the world. That’s why we need to ensure access to training that can protect and produce quality jobs. TAA helps to do just that, which is why I’m going to do everything I can to build support for this bill in the House.”