Senators Stabenow, Peters introduce bill to support workers impacted by trade
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced a bill to support workers who lose their jobs because global trade has impacted their employers or industry.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance For Workers Reauthorization Act of 2021 improves the existing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers program so that more trade-impacted workers can access job training benefits, extended unemployment, and other support services needed to find new jobs.
Beginning on July 1, the TAA for Workers program will operate in a limited form, harming new workers who might be laid off for trade-related reasons. The Trade Adjustment Assistance For Workers Reauthorization Act prevents the TAA program from reducing eligibility and benefits and extends the program for another 7 years.
“I’m focused on making sure workers have good paying jobs, which includes providing them the opportunities and training they need for the jobs of the future. The Trade Adjustment Assistance program has helped workers in Michigan and across the country get back on their feet after their jobs disappeared because of trade-related reasons. My bill will make sure this program continues and is there for workers when they need it,” said Senator Stabenow.
“The Trade Adjustment Assistance program ensures that workers displaced through no fault of their own continue to have the skills and training needed to fill good-paying jobs in the 21st century economy,” said Senator Peters. “Reauthorizing and strengthening this program will better ensure we can adapt to automation and other changes in our economy. I’ll continue working to ensure displaced workers have the opportunity to gain new skillsets, earn a good job to support their families and grow our economy.”
The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers Reauthorization Act of 2021:
— Expands eligibility of who can receive benefits: The bill makes workers eligible for the program if they have been laid off because their company cannot import supplies due to disruptions in the global supply chain or export their products because of weak demand. The bill would also authorize the Department of Labor to establish a pilot program that would experiment with expanded eligibility of certain TAA for Workers benefits.
— Expands training benefits: This bill would extend training benefits to more low-wage workers, adds pre-apprenticeship programs to the list of approved training and ensures training provided through the TAA program leads workers toward jobs that provide livable wages.
— Helps communities impacted by trade: The bill provides trade-impacted communities with priority status for grants and loans from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
— Improves outreach and education: Requires states to provide trade-impacted workers with information about registered apprenticeship programs and other on-the-job training opportunities in the worker’s area. Also provides states with new tools to ensure workers are aware of their ability to receive benefits.
— Requires more transparency: Under current law, certain employers are required to tell employees and states when they are having mass layoffs or a plant closure that will cause workers to lose their jobs. This bill would require employers to also disclose if jobs are being offshored when notifying employees and states. This information will ensure states and the federal government can quickly provide workers with TAA benefits.
— Permanently extends the health care tax credit: This bill would provide TAA-certified workers with a tax credit to lower their health care premiums. Currently, the tax credit covers 72.5% of the cost of health care premiums. This bill increases the coverage to 80% and makes the credit permanent.
— Improves TAA wage insurance: This bill would ensure that workers enrolled in qualifying TAA training programs could also access 130 weeks of income support. Workers who need remedial training may receive an additional 26 weeks of income support.