Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the House Ways and Means Committee, along with Ways and Means Committee's Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), introduced the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Modernization Act of 2021. The bill includes Congressman Kildee's TAA for Communities program. This program would provide targeted, robust federal support to communities that have suffered chronic economic hardship due to trade-related events and job loss.
The TAA for Communities program would help eligible communities negatively impacted by trade create economic development plans and attract new investment. The program allocates $1 billion that can be used to for technical assistance to create economic development plans, eliminate blight from communities, improve public services and encourage private-sector job creation. Through this bill, the current TAA program would be expanded to include federal funding for entire communities, in addition to firms and workers experiencing trade-related hardships.
Eligible communities must have previously received TAA and have persistent long-term poverty or been significantly distressed by trade. The current program is set to expire at the end of June.
"When a large business--such as a manufacturing factory--closes due to trade, it is not just the workers and the company that suffer, the entire community is impacted. Existing Trade Adjustment Assistance programs don't do enough to support communities impacted by trade," said Congressman Kildee. "This bill fills that gap by creating a first step in the path forward for our industrial communities by delivering strong federal support for cities and towns, and by expanding Trade Adjustment Assistance programs to help more Michiganders negatively impacted by trade."
"Communities around the country have been grappling with trade-related economic impacts for decades. In our work, we have seen the cascading effects that a closed plant or factory can have on the fabric of a community: the lost jobs, the weakened markets, and the vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment that too often follow," said Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. "Investing in locally-designed economic development strategies and supporting flexible recovery activities -- including land banking, demolition, and rehabilitation of vacant structures -- will redound to the benefit of communities in need. We thank Congressman Kildee for his leadership and vision and enthusiastically support the TAA for Communities program in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Modernization Act of 2021 Act."
As a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, Kildee has been an advocate for enforcing trade agreements that protect Michigan workers and businesses. Last Congress, Kildee fought to improve and ultimately pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, replacing the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement ensuring older, industrial cities and towns are able to compete and win in the twenty-first century economy. In June 2021, Kildee urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection to block products containing polysilicon made with forced labor in Xinjiang, China from entering the U.S. economy to uphold U.S. law, defend human rights and protect Michigan workers.