Job Creation: What is Washington Doing?
Washington is in the process of taking steps to help encourage job growth throughout the country. This week, we highlight the debate taking place over the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.
What is Trade Adjustment Assistance?
According to the Deparment of Labor, the Trade Adjustment Assitance program “was created to provide benefits and services to workers who become unemployed due the impact of international trade.”
Essentially, if your job was impacted because of foreign imports or because of a shift in production outside of the United States, Trade Adjustment Assistance provides additional benefits, specifically:
- additional cash payments (up to 156 weeks) if you are enrolled in training (for new or additional skills)
- re-employment assistance
- job search allowances
- relocation allowances
The benefits available under TAA were expanded greatly under the Recovery Act in 2009. In February of this year, however, the expansions to Trade Adjustment Assistance program expired.
What is the Current Debate?
Democrats want to reinstate the provisions of the TAA that were put in place as of 2009.
Republicans are concerned about the cost of the program, which would be approximately $7.2 billion over 10 years, and would be funded by the government taking on more debt.
President Obama is looking to Congress to renew the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. At the same time, free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama are also being discussed.
Both Republicans and Democrats support the free trade agreements. The President is considering passing the free-trade agreements only if Congress agrees to bring back the TAA at 2009 levels.
What Does This Mean for You?
If Trade Adjustment Assistance is included with the free trade deals …
- You may be able to receive additional benefits and training — if your previous job was impacted by a shift in production to another country that has a free trade agreement with the U.S. Alternatively, you may also be eligible if your job was directly impacted by imports.
- We will provide more details as these discussions unfold.
In the coming weeks, we will highlight additional programs that Washington is undertaking to help create job growth.
Also, we continue to follow all legislation related to unemployment benefits and extensions, and will keep you informed as soon as new information becomes available.