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Workplace Issues Today: White House says worker assistance program has to be part of free trade agreement

The White House says that it will hold up the passage of three free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama if Congress does not agree to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. The TAA provides assistance to workers who are displaced, and the administration says that they believe they can work with Congress to expand the program, before nay other trade agreements are made. While Republicans have been supportive of TAA, some were concerned about expanding the program during the current debate on the debt. Republicans had previously threatened to block the confirmation of any trade-related nominees if all three agreements were not passed together.

See “White House threatens to hold up key trade deals,” The Associated Press, May 16 2011 (SD)

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