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Public Statements

Trade and Globalization Assistance Act of 2007

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

TRADE AND GLOBALIZATION ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - October 31, 2007)

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Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his important work on keeping America number one.

In recent years, the increasing global market has brought many opportunities but has also created unprecedented challenges as to how we address the increased economic insecurity faced by many of America's working families. For a long time, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, trade policy has focused more on opening new markets and has dismissed the real consequences of those faced by those who lose their jobs as well as their communities across America that are hard hit.

Democrats recognize that our economic future rests with our ability to open new markets for U.S. goods, especially since our markets are already largely open to our trading partners. However, the status quo is not working, and we must do much more to help American workers compete and thrive in the increasingly competitive global market. That is the purpose of this important legislation before us, the trade adjustment assistance bill.

Mr. Speaker, being from Massachusetts, I'm sure you've read in the history books, for somebody of my age I recall, when President Kennedy called for the, called upon the American people with his challenge to put a man on the Moon and have him safely return within 10 years. It was very, very exciting. It was almost unbelievable, but it did happen. Why I mention it, though, is because in his remarks at that time, President Kennedy said, if we are to honor the vows of our Founders, we must be first, and therefore we intend to be first. For our science and industry, for peace and security, we must be first. And that's what this is about today, how America can continue to be number one.

We have worked together with that Innovation Agenda in that spirit; the Innovation Agenda, much of which has been passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan way by the Congress and signed into law by President Bush. And it will help promote, will make serious and sustained investments in research and development, help promote the public-private partnerships that will develop high-risk, high-reward ideas into marketable technologies and more jobs for American workers. In other words, we're saying, if we are going to compete successfully, we must innovate, and that innovation begins in the classroom.

So Democrats recognize in the global knowledge-based economy, America's greatest resource for innovation and economic growth resides within America's classrooms, and we have made a new commitment to encouraging students and encouraging highly qualified teachers in the field of math, science and engineering.

We've also made higher education more affordable and accessible. Again, in the strong bipartisan way voted by the House, we passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. That was signed into law by the President and has made the largest investment in college affordability since the GI Bill was passed in 1944, a bill that was referenced by our colleague, Mr. Sestak, earlier.

We've also forged a new approach for free trade agreements where, for the first time, Democrats in Congress and Republicans, working with Mr. McCrery and Mr. Rangel, the chairman, working with the administration, were able to forge a new approach. For the first time, enforceable basic labor rights and environmental standards will be included in free trade agreements negotiated by the Bush administration ensuring that our trading partners do not lure American jobs abroad through the use of weak labor laws and lax environmental standards.

Today's bill is the next step in our agenda to expand economic security. It's a departure from the status quo. The current trade adjustment assistance initiative does not do enough to help those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

Specifically, as has been mentioned before, the bill will dramatically expand the number of workers who will qualify for TAA benefits. This is very important. It will offer increased funding and options for workers' training so that individuals can pursue substantive training programs that lead to higher paying jobs. It will expand access to health care by strengthening and streamlining the health care tax credit and other health benefits so that workers are not forced to live without health care as they search for a new job. And it will revitalize communities decimated by manufacturing job loss with tax incentives. Those are some of the provisions of this important legislation.

This would represent a huge step forward. This would say to the American people and the American workers who have lost their jobs or are concerned about losing their jobs to trade that they are not alone.

The bill represents a renewed commitment to helping American workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. Free and fair trade can only thrive if we help those who are facing the downside of a global economy.

In the coming months, Democrats will continue to lay out a positive agenda to ensure economic growth and economic security for America's families. We will continue to pursue a positive agenda to keep America number one. I urge our colleagues to oppose the substitute and to support the underlying legislation.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 781, the previous question is ordered on the bill, as amended, and on the further amendment by the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. McCrery), as modified.

The question is on the amendment by the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. McCrery), as modified.

The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the noes appeared to have it.

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