Over the last few weeks there have been two separate trade related bills making headlines.
Both the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) have the potential to help American workers. Understanding the purpose of each bill, and where the bill is at in Congress, can become a bit complicated. To help sift through the acronyms and related details, we have provided you a definition of each bill, as well as where the bill stands in the legislative approval process currently.
The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is commonly referred to as the “fast-track” bill and is defined by the Office of the United States Trade Representatives as “legislation that defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the President to follow throughout the negotiation process. At the end of the negotiation and consultation process, Congress gives the agreement an up or down vote, without amendment.” The “fast-track” bill has the potential to assist President Obama significantly with the ongoing talks regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership; a trade deal with 11 other nations in the Pacific.
As of last Friday (June 16th) the House of Representative has passed TPA. The bill was sent to the Senate where it passed this morning (June 23rd).
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is defined by the Dept. of Labor as “a federal program established under the Trade Act of 1974 that provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports.” This bill essentially gives aid to workers whose jobs have been displaced as a result of trade.
Both the TPA and TAA bills were originally paired together as part of the trade agenda, but the House of Representatives voted against TAA on Friday (June 16th). The timeline for TAA to be revisited is unclear at the moment.
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