Senator Baucus on Reform and Expansion of Trade Adjustment Assistance
Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
Alan S. Blinder, Princeton University
J. Bradford Jensen, Peterson Institute
Howard F. Rosen, Peterson Institute
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
January 30, 2008
Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, announced at an Institute event on January 30, 2008, that a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is his top trade policy priority, and until an expanded and reauthorized TAA is passed other issues on the trade agenda like pending free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama must take a "back seat."
TAA is the program that helps workers adversely affected by increased imports and offshoring. Senator Baucus’ remarks were followed by a panel discussion, beginning with Princeton University Professor Alan Blinder's presentation of his widely publicized concerns on the potential extent of job loss from outsourcing. Institute Senior Fellow Bradford Jensen presented results from his latest research on outsourcing, and Institute Visiting Fellow Howard Rosen discussed TAA reform proposals.
The House of Representatives has already passed a TAA reform bill, introduced by Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin. Senator Baucus has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. A central theme of these bills is expanding TAA coverage to include workers in the services sector, especially those adversely affected by outsourcing and offshoring. The bills would also expand the Health Coverage Tax Credit and wage insurance. The need for TAA reform is heightened by the current slowdown of the economy and job creation, reinforcing its traditional role as a central element of government assistance for workers, as well as farmers, fishermen, and companies, who are adversely affected by globalization.