Today, Congressmen Adam Smith (D-WA) and Sander Levin (D-MI), as well as 30 other House Democrats, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urging the reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which is set to expire December 31, 2014.  Reps. Smith and Levin introduced the TAA Act earlier this Congress, which would fully reauthorize the program.

“TAA is a critical part of our nation’s competitiveness strategy in the face of a rapidly evolving world economy and its reauthorization enjoys bipartisan support,” the Members wrote. “Congressional leadership and action to reauthorize TAA is needed to stop the termination of an effective program that helps American workers and firms compete, innovate, strengthen, and diversify America’s economy. We must do all we can to save jobs by helping firms readjust and workers regain their edge and competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

Background: Congress created the TAA program in 1962 in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans as a result of increasing global competition, as well as to promote American competitiveness.  TAA benefits have several components: training assistance, income support while in training, and job search and relocation assistance.  The program assists workers dislocated by the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade.  Additional programs assist farmers, fishermen, and firms with the development and implementation of business plans to enable them to regain a competitive foothold. Click here for the full text of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Act of 2014.

TAA by the numbers:

•             2,192,910:  The number of workers served by TAA since it was created in 1974

•             104,158:  The number of workers eligible to apply for TAA in 2013

•             50:  The number of states with workers eligible for TAA benefits in 2013

•             75%:  The percentage of TAA workers who got a job within six months of finishing the program

•             90%:  The percentage of those TAA workers who remained employed at the end of the year