06.22.2015 1

Trade adjustment assistance is dead

no fast trackBy Rick Manning

The one thing that every conservative agrees on in the trade debate on Capitol Hill is that Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) needs to die.  This welfare program has always been the price Democrats have exacted in exchange for passing fast track legislation, but in the wake of the disappointing House vote to grant President Obama this enormous grant of power without TAA, the time is ripe to end the program once and for all.

Even President Obama agrees, as the TAA program is not in his 2015 budget, instead it is rolled into an amorphous job training program that isn’t designed to mitigate any potential negative effects from trade deals on American workers.

Now the Senate is poised to vote for cloture on fast track without TAA attached, a clear signal that Senate Democrats along with their 28 House Democrat colleagues who passed fast track are willing to forego the TAA program and allow it to die.  The small bit of good news coming out of the likely disastrous decision to give President Obama fast track is that TAA will be thrown into the ash can of history as soon as Democrats give up their leverage on a cloture vote.

While this is small consolation, it may be joined by the failure of Ex-Im Bank supporters to force a vote on the Bank’s reauthorization prior to their voting on cloture for fast track. If Republican leadership destroys both the Ex-Im Bank and TAA in the process of getting fast track, a small part of the sting that comes with allowing Obama to rewrite the rules of the world’s economy with the most progressive trade deal in history may be assuaged.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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