Job Training Benefits to be Denied to Workers Impacted by Trade
A quartet of Republican Senators - Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) - are reportedly blocking consideration of a bill (H.R. 6517) that would extend critical job training benefits for workers adversely impacted when surges of imported goods lead to lost jobs and reduced wages. If no action is taken, some 140,000 workers will lose Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) training benefits on January 1, 2011.
The measure also reduces tariffs on certain imported goods that are used by American manufacturers to make them more competitive. Ironically, the members slowing action are seeking concessions from the White House over future trade deals, including Columbia, which stands to lose as a result of the blockade, and has been vigorously advocating for passage.
Said Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director Scott Paul: "Talk about the Grinch stealing Christmas. You have 140,000 laid-off American manufacturing workers struggling to get by, whose jobs have been shipped overseas, and they will lose their benefits because these Senators are putting politics ahead of the well-being of blue collar workers. In an ideal world, trade would work for all Americans and TAA wouldn't be needed. But we live in the real world. It makes no sense to pull away the last bit of support they have."
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