Ohio Sen. Brown fights for victims of free trade

From WKBN in Ohio At a White House meeting Friday of the President's Export Council, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown revived his call to extend a Department of Labor program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA is a package of training and re-employment services designed to help workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade develop the skills they need to find new jobs. Since mid-February, eligibility for the TAA program has been denied for service workers and for manufacturing workers who lost their jobs due to trade with countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement, including China. "The President's Export Council had a lively and productive discussion today that focused around how we can spur America's economic recovery and add jobs by increasing American exports," Brown said. "But at the same time, we cannot afford to forget about the workers that have been left behind by free trade agreements. These are Americans who lost their job, their pension, their health care, maybe all three, when the company they worked for moved operations overseas or shed their employee benefits obligations during bankruptcy proceedings. Congress has delayed for weeks in renewing TAA, but enough is enough. We need to extend this critical program without delay." According to the Department of Labor, an estimated 32,389 Ohio workers have been certified for TAA assistance since May 2009, second only to Michigan. Last month, Brown led four attempts to pass an extension of TAA and the Health Coverage Tax Credit before the expiration, but each attempt was blocked by Republican senators. As one of the last acts before 111th Congress adjourned, Brown secured a six-week extension of the TAA program, including an extension of the Health Coverage Tax Credit, a program that helps trade-affected and other dislocated workers afford private health insurance. Brown fought to extend the program for 18 months, but the Senate only cleared a six-week extension, leaving it up to the new Congress to reconsider the issue. See original story here