(REMARKS AS PREPARED)
• It is not every day that we are able to reach a bipartisan andbicameral compromise. I am so proud to have collaborated with ChairmanBaucus, Chairman Rangel, and Senator Grassley to improve and expand theTrade Adjustment Assistance program. This negotiation is an example ofhow we should legislate – by sitting down together and listening toeach other.
• The TAA package provides a coherent, accountable, andcost-effective system for training trade-affected workers and puttingthem back to work quickly and at better jobs. The expansion to coverservices workers adversely affected by trade is particularly importantand reflects the modern U.S. economy.
• The new law also creates more flexible training options andimproves training programs, particularly at community colleges. Pre-layoff training, part-time training, and long-term training aresome examples of the improvements. The new law also helps improveTAA’s performance by requiring the collection and reporting of datarelated to program performance and worker outcomes – allowing us tomeasure where the program is effective and where it needs furtherimprovement.
• This TAA package is absolutely essential to helping thosedislocated by trade. Now our next step should be to create jobs. Aswe do so, we should acknowledge the significantly positive impact thattrade has on our economy and working families. The simple fact is thatexports, and the millions of jobs that they support, have been thelargest contributor to our economic growth.
• Therefore, we should create jobs by moving forward on our tradeagenda and by expanding opportunities to export U.S.-made goods andservices. And one important way to create export opportunities isthrough passing free trade agreements, which have been remarkablesuccess stories. These agreements are astonishing engines of growth.
• At the top of the list is the Colombia agreement, and I look forward to working to move this agreement and our trade agenda.