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RILA supports Senate's passage of Trade Adjustment Assistance Amendment

Amendment moves to House for vote

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed Senator Bob Casey's (D-Pa.) Trade Adjustment Assistance Amendment last night with a bipartisan vote of 69 to 28.

The amendment, which renews the Trade Adjustment Assistance and General System of Preference programs, authorizes $575 million for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 to ensure states have the necessary funding to provide long-term job training.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association applauded the Senate's action, which allows the amendment to move to the House of Representatives for approval and then to the President.

"RILA welcomes the renewal of both GSP and TAA today and applauds Congress for its bipartisan support for international trade," said Stephanie Lester, RILA's vice president of international trade, in a statement.

TAA was created in 1962 to help workers and companies negatively impacted by trade. In 2009, the program was expanded as part of the stimulus plan to include additional workers, expanded job training and improved health care coverage. The program's 2009 expansion expired in February 2011, and the entire TAA program would have expired in 2012, if Casey's amendment had not passed.

The amendment's passage in the Senate preempts Republican efforts to tie the bill to the passage of three outstanding free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia.

All Democrats and 16 Republicans voted to pass the amendment, while 28 Republicans voted against it.

In a press release, the RILA also expressed its support for the passage of the free trade agreements.

"We urge lawmakers and the President to act swiftly in the next few weeks to ratify the free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama," Lester said. "Once the three pending trade agreements are ratified we can all devote more attention to other job-creating trade items, such as the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations."

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