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Ways & Means Republicans: DOL Defying Congressional Will on TAA for Workers Program

May 08, 2009

Washington D.C. – In a recent letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Ways & Means Republican Members expressed their opposition to the Department’s plans to mandate that state Employment Service (ES) employees administer the expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers program. 

Earlier this year, lawmakers in both chambers of Congress worked together to enact a new TAA law which improved and expanded the current TAA program.  During the legislative process, the Democratic and Republican leaders from the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee agreed to remove the 2007 House-passed legislation’s requirement that state ES staff administer the program. In their letter, Ways & Means Republican Members state, “We are disappointed that the Department intends to reverse, rather than respect, this recent decision that paved the way for the final TAA conference agreement supported by key House and Senate leaders in both parties.”

In their letter, the Members also note that the Department’s planned federal mandate would require 23 states to change, at potentially significant cost and burden in these difficult economic times, the manner in which they have determined to administer the TAA program, taking away their flexibility to administer the program in the most effective way possible in their states.  According to 2007 Department data, the 23 states that would be negatively impacted by the Department’s planned state ES staff mandate are: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

To read the full letter to Secretary Solis, click here.