Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today announced that the New York State Trade Adjustment Assistance Center at the Research Foundation State University of New York in Binghamton has been awarded $1,112,113 in federal funding to help companies negatively impacted by foreign competition through expanded free trade agreements. The funding is provided through the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program and is administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Last October, Hinchey voted to restore TAAF benefits after House Republicans allowed the program to lapse on February 12, 2011.
"This assistance will provide a boost for local businesses that are struggling because of unfair trade deals," said Hinchey."I was proud to vote to restore this important assistance for local companies, after House Republicans initially allowed the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to lapse in order to force votes on three new so-called "free trade" deals that I opposed. Thousands of New Yorkers negatively impacted by unfair trade deals, which I have consistently opposed, rely on this important program to help them get back on their feet. It is terrible that this assistance was delayed because Republicans in the House demanded even more unfair trade deals."
The TAAF program provides local companies with funding to pay for consulting, engineering, and design services to improve their business strategy, strengthen product lines, and make their company more competitive with overseas firms. Companies that receive assistance have a survival rate of 95 percent, according to the New York State Trade Adjustment Assistance Center. Local businesses can apply to the New York State Trade Adjustment Assistance Center to determine their eligibility to receive this assistance.
In addition to assisting local companies, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program also helps workers who lost their jobs because of these unfair trade agreements. The program offers necessary retraining opportunities, health insurance assistance, and other crucial support to U.S. workers who lose their jobs due to the negative effects of international trade. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), since 1977 nearly 100 applications for TAA on behalf of tens of thousands of workers have been certified within the congressional district Hinchey represents. In 2010, Hinchey announced that 380 workers who lost their jobs at the Emerson Power Transmission facility in Ithaca, New York would be eligible to apply for TAA. Hinchey called on DOL to expedite that TAA application and make the benefits of the program available to Emerson workers as soon as possible. The DOL promptly responded, certifying the eligibility of the workers to apply for the adjustment assistance.
Hinchey has opposed unfair trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) because they cause the exportation of U.S. jobs. In the 111th Congress, Hinchey cosponsored the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act (TRADE Act), which would require a comprehensive review of major trade agreements on the books, ensure that environmental labor and human rights standards are addressed in future agreements, and give Congress the authority it needs to assert its proper constitutional role in the trade negotiating process by significantly limiting future fast-track authority.