Press Releases

Today, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-MI) introduced the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Act of 2014 to provide critical job training and worker assistance for Americans who have lost their jobs due to increased competition in the global marketplace.  The U.S. manufacturing, service, farming, and fishing sectors have been hit hard with declines in employment, and American workers need support and training to secure new employment.  At the beginning of this year, TAA expired for thousands of service industry workers affected by trade, as well as for workers losing their jobs due to imports from countries including China.  If Congress doesn’t reauthorize TAA by the end of the year, the entire program will expire.  
 
"Our nation's economy and success depend on our workers,” said Rep. Adam Smith.   “As we continue to recover from the economic crisis and adapt to a rapidly changing economy, it is critical that we update and improve the TAA program to help workers transition.  In the face of greater global competition, we need to provide training, income support, and healthcare to help displaced workers adjust and enhance their skills for new jobs and careers."
 
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act would ensure that TAA eligibility is available to workers and firms in the services and manufacturing sectors, workers whose firms shift production to (or are adversely affected by imports from) FTA and non-FTA countries, U.S. suppliers of component parts, public sector workers, and farmers and fishermen.  The bill also invests in American workers by restoring comprehensive levels of benefits in areas such as job training, case management, income support, and job search and relocation allowances that are critical to workers adversely affected by increased global competition.  
 
Mr. Levin added, “It is urgent that we reinstate the full TAA program for dislocated workers who are building new careers for themselves.  As we seek to fully benefit from globalization we must maintain structures that allow us to address its challenges for the workers and firms  who are prepared to compete when they are given the tools to do so.”  

Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles Rangel agreed.  He noted that “we need to continue to give dislocated workers the option of improving their skills, or learning new ones, as part of our commitment to making sure the American worker benefits from globalization.”

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.

Rep. Derek Kilmer added, “As someone with over a decade of experience in economic development, I know that job training is a key catalyst for job growth.  Our workers and employers have to compete with those of countries around the world. That’s why we need to ensure access to training that can protect and produce quality jobs. TAA helps to do just that, which is why I’m going to do everything I can to build support for this bill in the House.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s FY2015 budget:
 
“As we continue to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, income inequality continues to rise and many hard-working Americans aren’t  sharing in opportunities for economic growth. The budget President Obama laid out today expands economic opportunities for all Americans through policies that extend emergency unemployment insurance, expand the earned income tax credit, raise the minimum wage, and make commitments to education and job training.  Additionally, by investing in innovation, education, infrastructure, and calling for advancing comprehensive immigration reform, this budget will create jobs and strengthen the middle class.  The President’s budget does this while continuing to reduce the deficit.  As the budget advances through the legislative process, I will work with my colleagues towards passing an FY2015 budget that promotes economic opportunity, reduces income inequality, and creates jobs.”


Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement today after Congressman Doc Hastings announced he would not seek re-election to Congress this year:
 
“For nearly 20 years, Doc Hastings has served the people of Washington State. He has been a very influential Member of Congress serving as the Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and on the House Ethics Committee.  I have enjoyed working with Doc over the years. I thank him for his service, and I wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
 
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in opposition to legislation that would add another year of sequestration to mandatory spending in exchange for repealing cost of living adjustments for retired working age members of the Armed Services:

“There are a number of serious problems with this legislation.  This bill has profound implications in a number of different areas, and yet we did not have time to consider the legislation adequately to figure out the long-term impacts it will have.    

“Through adding another year of sequestration, this legislation takes from folks who rely on Medicare and other mandatory programs, and from readiness accounts that prepare and train our troops.  This is unacceptable.  These are challenging issues that we need to address, but Congress keeps refusing to make difficult choices demanded of us. We are simply robbing one group of deserving people to pay for helping another group of deserving people.  This is just a shell game, and it is irresponsible.

“By repealing the COLA provision that was just agreed to a month ago in this very body, we are forcing the Department of Defense to focus on personnel costs. Personnel costs continue to make up an increasingly large portion of the defense budget and it is squeezing out other portions, forcing cuts to readiness and procurement, which means that troops will not have the equipment and resources necessary to train and be prepared.  This could lead to a hollow force that is not trained to fight the fights that we ask of them.  Again, we are robbing one part of the Pentagon to pay for another.

“As far as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) or “Doc fix” portion of this bill is concerned, I think we need to fix it.  Cuts to physicians’ Medicare reimbursement rates would negatively impact health care access for Medicare patients. I strongly support paying for a SGR fix, but this bill pays for it in the exact wrong way.  I am willing to raise taxes and cut spending in other areas to do so, but paying for it through sequestration’s indiscriminate cuts to mandatory programs is irresponsible and unacceptable.”
 
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after he voted to lift the debt ceiling until March 2015:

"I am pleased that the House passed legislation today to lift the debt limit until March 2015 with bipartisan support.  Raising the debt limit allows the U.S. government to pay the bills we have already incurred, and in no way increases spending.  I am encouraged that House Republican leadership offered a clean debt limit vote that wasn’t tied to any partisan policies.  Further, by removing the potential of a destabilizing and destructive default on our obligations, lifting the debt limit allows us the focus more on advancing policies that grow our economy, create jobs, and expand economic opportunity.”