Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has issued the following statement regarding today's passage by the U.S. Senate of Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers:
"In 2009, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress worked with President Obama to craft a bipartisan agreement that improved the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to help American workers who lost their jobs to foreign competition or outsourcing.
"Today, both parties worked across the aisle once again to fit the program for the future and pave the way for the approval of trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. TAA and these agreements are essential components of the administration's broader efforts to hasten our recovery and get more American job seekers back to work.
"The TAA agreement passed by the Senate today ensures that workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade and through no fault of their own will have access to resources, benefits and job training. Today's vote means that TAA is a step closer to being available to all workers whose jobs were moved overseas to any country -- not just those with which the United States had a prior free trade agreement
"The TAA program passed today also reflects the goals essential to a balanced trade agenda. It will support jobs here at home as we open new markets to American exporters, while recognizing the costs of trade to some on our shores. Just ask Virginia Vaught.
"When Virginia's job with a semiconductor manufacturer was outsourced to China, she reinvented herself by taking TAA long-distance online training while moving from one state to another. Vaught eventually graduated with a degree from a community college in Washington state and now works for an Idaho archives center. "The TAA program provided me with peace of mind' and "gave me a sense of self worth' in a new career, Vaught said.
"Many Americans don't know what TAA is. They don't hear about it unless they need it or the program is up for renewal. Unfortunately, false rumors have often endangered this program and the workers who rely upon it when their jobs are eliminated or moved overseas. But not today.
"Without the transitional assistance and training offered by TAA, thousands of blue collar workers and their families risk sliding out of the middle class. TAA provides critical resources they need to develop new skills to succeed in vital growth industries.
"As the White House and Congress advance a strong, market-opening trade agenda to create more jobs here at home, we have a responsibility to ensure that American workers impacted by foreign competition have the assistance they need to adapt and succeed in the 21st-century economy.
"Once again, I commend the U.S. Senate for taking action to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers, paving the way for more progress toward getting our economy growing and all Americans back to work."