Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Support Workers Displaced by Foreign Trade
Washington, DC– On June 25, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) voted in favor of H.R. 1295, the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which includes Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA supports American workers who lose their jobs or experience wage reductions as a result of foreign trade and includes worker support services such as job retraining and income assistance. Thursday was the second time the House of Representatives voted on TAA in the 114th Congress. It was originally voted down by a bipartisan majority, including Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, after it was attached to a bill granting the Administration Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “fast-track.” The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1295 by a vote of 266-138.
“In the past weeks, we have seen fast-track authority packaged with widely-supported bills like worker displacement programs and public servant pensions in order to bully legislators into passing the Administration’s trade agenda,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “I am disappointed that Congress has passed fast-track authority and given away the ability to voice the opinions of the American people in trade negotiations like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“NAFTA and other trade agreements have thrown millions of Americans out of work. This is why I voted in favor of H.R. 1295, which authorizes funding for job training services and other support for displaced workers.
“Although fast-track has passed, this does not mean that those of us who are concerned about protecting American jobs and our nation’s sovereignty should throw up our hands and surrender. The monstrosity known as Trade Pacific Authority still needs to come back to Congress for an up or down vote. If that bill contains the same noxious elements that appear in it at this time, we must do everything we can to defeat it.”
Under TAA, Hawai'i workers who are adversely affected by trade may receive training for another job or career, weekly cash payments after regular unemployment benefits are exhausted, and half the difference between lower, new wages and old wages for two years if they are 50 years or older. Moreover, the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which helps pay for health care for workers displaced by trade, would be retroactively renewed for six years through December 31, 2019. The bill also extends trade preference programs to developing countries to help them grow their economies.