WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the passage of legislation he introduced to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance, which helps workers displaced by foreign trade train for new jobs. Brown’s legislation, passed last night, amends a House-passed trade bill to include an extension of the expired-2009 TAA improvements.
“We’ve seen what wrong-headed trade agreements have meant for Ohio workers. We can’t turn our back on the Ohioans left behind when their jobs are sent to Mexico or China,” Brown said. “It’s time to put American jobs and American workers first—and this extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance and the Health Coverage Tax Credit is long overdue. TAA will help workers in Ohio, and across America, get back on their feet and access retraining for new jobs when their jobs are shipped abroad.”
To help American workers get back on their feet and allow for the rebound of the manufacturing sector, Brown’s amendment—filed with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Max Baucus (D-MT)—extends Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) until 2013. TAA ensures that workers who lose their jobs and financial security as a result of globalization have an opportunity to transition to new jobs and emerging sectors of the economy.
In 2009, Congress made important reforms to the TAA program, improving efficiency, and improving access to the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). Congress also expanded eligibility to service workers, and to workers whose jobs have been moved offshore, regardless of whether the United States has a bilateral trade agreement with the source country. Brown has been a Senate leader in advocating for a long-term extension of the expanded TAA program, which expired February 12, 2011. The Senate voted on a package to renew the expanded TAA program through the end of 2013 and retroactively to February 12, 2011.
In May, Brown led forty-one U.S. Senators in urging President Barack Obama not to submit any free trade agreements to Congress—including pending agreements for Colombia, Panama, and South Korea—until Congress agrees to extend a long-term extension of TAA, including the 2009 bipartisan reforms. In July, Brown released a report showing the number of displaced Ohio workers who have qualified for TAA since the 1994 passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the 2005 passage of the Dominican Republic—Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Nearly 40,000 displaced Ohio workers have qualified for TAA since 1994. The same month, Brown and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation that would extend TAA at 2009 levels for five years, until December 31, 2016.
Brown led the House opposition to the Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in 2005, falling just two votes shy of blocking the agreement after the vote was held open for nearly two hours. The author of the book Myths of Free Trade and described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American manufacturing,” Brown also stood up to President Clinton during debate of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.
Brown is also the coauthor, along with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), of the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. This bipartisan legislation would crack down on Chinese currency manipulation by giving the United States the power to respond appropriately to unfairly subsidized exports from countries like China.