Casey Sponsors TAA Amendment to Help Workers who Have Lost their Jobs Due to Unfair Trade Practices

Casey Led Efforts to Extend Worker Benefits

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced the Casey Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2011.  The legislation, introduced as an amendment to the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, reauthorizes Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) retroactively and extends the program to workers affected by outsourcing to countries like China or India. 

“Since 2001, Pennsylvania has lost nearly 300,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector,” said Senator Casey.  “American workers have taken it on the chin as a result of unfair, unbalanced trade policy that benefits countries like China and India and results in the loss of American jobs.  The Trade Adjustment Assistance program helps workers get back on their feet by providing the necessary training to help them compete in today’s global economy.”

The costs borne by displaced workers are significant.  Workers who are adversely affected by increased competition or offshoring often face lower wages or need additional training to find work in another industry.  Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provides these services to Americans whose jobs are offshored or outsourced to foreign countries. 

TAA was created in 1962 as a way to help workers and firms negatively impacted by trade.  TAA was most recently expanded in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to include additional workers, expanded job training and improved health care coverage.  These enhancements expired in February 2011.  The entire TAA program is due to expire in 2012.

The legislation, introduced with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Max Baucus (D-MT), extends the TAA program through 2013.  Because TAA enhancements were allowed to expire earlier this year, the legislation will also reauthorize the program retroactively from February 12, 2011.

Senator Casey’s amendment will:

  • Guarantee access to training for American service and manufacturing workers;
  • Allow workers to qualify if their firms shifted production to any country, including China and India, not just counties with which the U.S. has entered into a free trade agreement; and
  • Ensure that workers in industries suffering from unfair trade and import surges as a result of unfair subsidies, dumping of goods, and unexpected surges to automatically qualify to receive TAA benefits if their layoffs occurred within one year before or after an affirmative injury determination by the International Trade Commission.

The amendment authorizes $575 million for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, and prorates funds for the period beginning October 1, 2013 and ending December 31, 2013, thus ensuring states have ample funding to provide long-term job training.  

The amendment provides training for up to 117 weeks, giving all workers the opportunity to receive long-term training, and provides an additional 13 weeks of training for workers if the training leads towards the completion of a degree or an industry-recognized credential.

As Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Senate Casey began a series of hearings on U.S. policy toward manufacturing.  On Wednesday, he will chair a hearing on how U.S. trade policy offshores American jobs.

Senator Casey has been a leader in the effort to extend TAA.  He joined with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to extend TAA for Workers and the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), introducing legislation and seeking multiple unanimous consent agreements on the Senate floor.  The Senators have pushed the Administration and Congressional leaders to address TAA before consideration of the Free Trade Agreements.