WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S Senator Angus King today announced that the funding bill agreement, which will fund the government through Fiscal Year 2015, includes full funding of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.
The proposed legislation provides $710.6 million for TAA, which is $54.6 million more than FY14, and the level recommended by the Senate. This will maintain benefits for all workers currently covered by TAA and those certified in FY15. The purpose of the TAA program is to aid workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages decrease as a result of increased imports. Those eligible for TAA assistance can be eligible for employment training in another job or career, income support, job search allowances, and relocation services for obtaining jobs outside of their normal commuting area.
In November, Senators Collins and King sent a letter to leaders on the Senate Appropriations Committee urging for the full funding of this critical program.
“This program has been especially helpful to Maine workers in key trade-affected industries who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, including individuals in Maine’s lobster, blueberry, and pulp and paper industries. Just this week, the U.S. Department of Labor approved TAA for the more than 500 workers who learned last month that they will lose their jobs when Verso Paper closes its mill in Bucksport, Maine, in December,” the Senators wrote in their November 19 letter. “TAA Assistance will be critical to these workers as they pursue alternative job opportunities.”