A group of 41 U.S. Senators have sent a letter to the White House expressing their support of President Obama’s recent decision not to submit three pending free trade deals to Congress until Congress agrees to a long-term extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA).
TAA provides training and unemployment benefits to thousands of workers who lose their jobs as a result of outsourcing, offshoring and unfair free trade agreements (FTA). The group, led by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), urged the renewal of an enhanced TAA, which includes additional bipartisan reforms added in the 2009 Recovery Act.
“While we the undersigned may have differing views on elements of the trade agenda – with some of us looking forward to supporting the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and others skeptical of the impact of the agreements – we are unified in our belief that the first order of business, before we should consider any FTA, is securing a long-term TAA extension,” reads the joint letter.
“We have an obligation to take care of American workers and American industry first,” said Sen. Brown. “TAA is one critical piece to rebalancing our trade policy, along with strengthened trade enforcement. Too often, we pass free trade agreements and then turn our backs on the American workers who have watched their jobs go to Mexico or China.”