Congress Needs to Get This Right.
Our union has fought for a level playing field when it comes to trade policy for decades. Today was no exception, as Legislative Director Roy Houseman testified on behalf of the USW to extend tariffs for Hot Rolled Steel at the International Trade Commission (ITC). Next week, the ITC will have a final hearing on oil country tubular goods, a case we have been working on for multiple years. These cases are vital in ensuring other countries don’t dump their products here. They arise when the damage has already been done and the workers and the communities they live in are devastated.
This is why Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is so vital.
For more than 40 years, the TAA program has provided critical benefits to workers who have lost their jobs as a result of increased imports and unfair trade policies. Today, this critical safety net program has expired, and thousands of those workers are being denied access.
The Senate has an opportunity and a responsibility to reauthorize TAA and pass the bipartisan Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 (S.1187). They should also expand and strengthen TAA in the process. We want enhancements like:
- Streamlining the application process;
- Providing a tax credit for child care;
- Covering workers who lose their jobs when foreign countries restrict imports of U.S.-made goods;
- Extending TAA to public service workers who lose their jobs when illegal dumping decimates the community’s tax base.
It’s imperative that we do this right. For too long, we have put a bandage on poor trade policy, and it has left workers on the losing end. This is the right time to invest in American competitiveness through stronger trade policies, worker training, and income support.
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