Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Its Role in U.S. Trade Policy [October 7, 2011]   [open pdf - 305KB]

"Congress created Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to help workers and firms adjust to dislocation that may be caused by increased trade liberalization. It is justified now, as it was then, on grounds that the government has an obligation to help the 'losers' of policy-driven trade liberalization. In addition, TAA is presented as an alternative to policies that would restrict imports, and so provides assistance while bolstering freer trade and diminishing prospects for potentially costly tension (retaliation) among trade partners. As in the past, critics strongly debate the merits of TAA on equity, efficiency, and budgetary grounds. Nonetheless, TAA still appears to serve what is now a historically pragmatic legislative function: it remains important for forging a compromise on national trade policy. […] On September 22, 2011, the Senate agreed to the amended bill, 70-27, after which it was sent to the House. In separate action, the House Ways and Means Committee favorably reported out all three FTA [free trade agreement] implementing bills on October 3, 2011. On October 6, 2011, the House Committee on Rules issued a closed rule covering all four bills. Senate amendment to H.R. 2832 is expected to be taken up by the House on October 12, 2011, along with implementing bills for the three FTAs. H.R. 2832, as amended, will be considered under a rule that waives all points of order and allows for one hour of debate. The bill requires simple majority to pass, and having already been agreed to in the Senate, House passage would then allow it to be sent to the President for signature."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41922
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