Washington, D.C. – Congressman G. K. Butterfield today urged his colleagues to extend a federal program that helps workers displaced by changes in the global economy.
“Without question, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers program has been effective and is greatly benefiting workers and the struggling economy in North Carolina,” Butterfield said. “Given the need and history of success, we must make every effort to preserve this valuable program.”
Today, Butterfield spoke in support of a long-term extension of TAA on the House Floor, and sent a letter urging action to House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin.
Butterfield explained that TAA was created to provide benefits and support to workers who become unemployed due to the impact of international trade. The program seeks to provide American workers who are adversely affected by trade with the opportunity to obtain the skills, resources and support they need to become reemployed, he said.
In 2009, the Recovery Act included provisions to enhance the benefits and services available to workers adversely affected by trade and expanded the coverage of the program to include more workers. The enhanced benefits were set to expire on December 22, 2010 but Congress agreed to extend the program for six weeks with strong bipartisan support.
Unless Congress acts, the enhanced benefits will expire on February 12, 2011. Butterfield said he strongly supports an 18-month extension, and believes there is sufficient support to approve an extension.
Over the past two years, more than 360,000 Americans have been certified for TAA assistance, and more than 40 percent of those workers were certified because of the TAA enacted in 2009.
Butterfield said that North Carolina is among the states hardest hit by changes in the global economy, and has been among the greatest beneficiaries of TAA. During fiscal year 2010, North Carolina ranked third among states benefiting from the TAA program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 14,658 displaced workers participated in the program in fiscal year 2010.