Provisions of the trade-worker aid bill

AP News
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Posted: Oct 12, 2011 1:56 PM
Provisions of the trade-worker aid bill

As part of the 2009 economic stimulus package, Congress expanded coverage under Trade Adjustment Assistance, a half-century-old program that provides financial aid and retraining to helps workers displaced by foreign competition with retraining and financial aid.

Those expansions expired this year. Restoring some of those benefits is part of the package that includes three trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The Senate passed the measure last month. A House vote was expected Wednesday.

_More than 400,000 workers have been certified as eligible for the program since May 2009. Of those, some 185,000 might not have been eligible under pre-2009 rules.

_The bill provides up to 130 weeks of income support, compared with as many as 156 in the 2009 law.

_It reduces the health coverage tax credit to 72.5 percent, from 80 percent in the 2009 law but up from 65 percent before 2009.

_ It provides $575 million to train workers over the next two years. The cost of the bill over three years, offset by spending cuts elsewhere, is put at $900 million.

_Public sector workers who were eligible for TAA benefits under the 2009 law will no longer qualify. But others made eligible remain eligible. They include those who held service jobs; workers whose companies shifted production to China, India and other countries that are not free trade partners with the U.S.; and secondary workers such as suppliers whose jobs are affected when a plant closes.