Free trade may or may not be good for America as a whole, but one thing's for sure - it hurts for some American workers whose jobs get shipped overseas.
The feds help out some of these workers by paying for job training and income insurance (for workers over 50 who find lower paying jobs, the feds will make up 50% of their paycut up to $10,000) when their factories close as a result of a free trade agreement.
The current trade adjustment assistance (TAA) law is running out (it just got extended to March) and Congress is likely to expand the law when it gets renewed. The House passed an updated bill, HR 3920, in November '07 and the Senate is working on its own. Some of the changes the House and Senate are considering include:
The Week of July 13
The floors of Capitol Hill are busy with spending matters this week. While the House churns through two more of its twelve spending bills for fiscal year 2010 - a $33b Energy and Water bill and $24b for Financial Services - senators will wade into lengthy debate over the $690b defense authorization bill, HR 1390. The "authorization" bill doesn't write the check for the military ("appropriations" bills do that), but it does okay what can go into an appropriations bill for next year. One budgetary item that will slow up passage is a $2b allotment for F-22 fighter planes: the Pentagon says it doesn't need the extra planes; the administration doesn't want to pay for them; but lawmakers in the homestates that build F-22s are pushing to buy them anyway.
Issue in Brief
What's going on?
With the US economy humming, the living is easy – or is it? Although there has been a steady increase in employment and an increase in real wages, there are still some that worry about threats to employment – with outsourcing topping the list.
How many Americans are working (Total) BLS
June 2006: 143.2 million
May 2005: 141.5 million
May 2004: 139 million