Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement in reaction to the announcement that the Senate Finance Committee will proceed this week with a mock mark up of legislation implementing the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has decided to package Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) with the US-South Korea implementing bill.
“The long-pending trade deals will increase American exports by $13 billion, according to the International Trade Commission, and that means 250,000 new jobs for American workers. It is regrettable that the White House has insisted on Trade Adjustment Assistance in return for passage of these job-creating agreements – further delaying what this country needs more than anything else: economic growth and private sector jobs. Yet I have been willing to work with the White House to find a bipartisan path forward on TAA in order to secure passage of the trade agreements.
“Although Senator Baucus has announced the Senate Finance Committee will move forward on the agreements, with TAA included in the South Korea bill, the decision on how to move these items through the House is a matter for Republican leadership to determine.
“In addition, while the underlying policy reflects discussions we have had, the drafts released today by Chairman Baucus include a number of last-minute changes, particularly the offsets for TAA and the implementing bills for the three trade agreements, that I need to review more fully.
“From day one, it has been clear that Republicans would not accept the White House’s demand for TAA at 2009 levels. Throughout the negotiations resulting in the TAA provisions that Senate Finance will consider this week, the Republican position has been that TAA must be cut and reformed. The final result is a program that has been cut not only from 2009 levels, but also below 2002 levels in several key areas. The program will revert to 2002 levels and below in some cases at the end of 2013 and will completely expire at the end of 2014. In that time, it is my hope that Congress examines the multitude of job assistance programs and comprehensively reforms them to ensure that they are efficiently and adequately meeting the needs of the unemployed and the taxpayers who fund such programs.”