WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bob Casey (D-PA) today went to the Senate floor and asked their colleagues to unanimously pass H.R. 6517, the Omnibus Trade Act of 2010. This bill passed the House of Representatives on December 15 by voice vote, and is supported by the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Retail Federation among other organizations.
“Thriving businesses and an active workforce are both vital to our nation’s economic recovery and competitiveness. This legislation helps businesses compete and create jobs, and it helps workers transition and acquire new skills,” Brown said. “The combination of trade provisions in this bill, along with the vital trade assistance and health coverage tax credit support, make this bill a winner—for business, for workers, and for our economy. I hope my colleagues can work through any differences over the coming days to ensure we pass this for American businesses and workers.”
“Since 2001, Pennsylvania has lost over 200,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector,” said Casey. “The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program has played a vital role in helping those workers who have lost their job due to an increase in imports or a shift in production outside the United States. If we truly want to help America get out of the ditch, then we must ensure our workers have the proper tools to be able to find new employment. If we allow TAA to lapse, the effects of these layoffs will be far greater than they are today.”
The bill passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support on Wednesday. The legislation—which is fully paid-for—reduces import duties on small inputs and components that are not made in the United States, which means lower costs for U.S. manufactures to make their products in the United States. It also renews for 18 months trade preferences programs that provide assistance to developing countries, and also help American businesses and workers.
The Omnibus Trade Act of 2010 also continues essential updates to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). TAA provides critical services to American workers who have been displaced from their jobs as a result of international trade.
The HCTC helps trade-affected workers and retirees purchase private health coverage to replace the employer-sponsored coverage they lost. This provision would assist Delphi retirees that have yet to receive pension or healthcare benefits from their former employer, General Motors.