Kyl kills expansion of assistance for workers who lose jobs to overseas sources


The Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA, programme, which offers training and income support for workers who lose their jobs because of factory shifts overseas or increased competition from imports, will get an additional two years’ worth of funding under the Senate version of the bill. But the lawmakers failed to include an amendment that would have boosted funding and broadened the coverage of the programme.

The amendment, crafted by Senators Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley would have increased funding for training courses, and extended coverage to include workers in the services sector, as well as workers who lose their jobs because of plant relocations to countries with which the US does not have a free trade agreement. The amendment also would have improved workers’ access to wage insurance and allowed US$ 230 million per year to go to communities affected by trade.

But hopes for TAA expansion were squashed last week, when Arizona Senator Jon Kyl said he would not support the expansion of TAA unless lawmakers established a plan to pass the US’ pending bilateral free trade agreement with Colombia. The FTA has been awaiting Senate approval for over two years; so far, though, its passage has been blocked by some Democrats who oppose the deal on the grounds that Colombia has not gone far enough to improve labour standards in the country.

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