Press Release

Date: Nov. 30, 2021
Location: Flint, MI

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Build Back Better budget, including his legislation to help trade-impacted communities like Flint, Saginaw and Bay City.

Previously Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs were targeted at providing workers a critical lifeline who lost their jobs to trade. The Build Back Better budget not only expands eligibility and modernizes benefits for TAA for Workers, but it also creates a new program--envisioned and introduced by Congressman Kildee--to help older, industrial cities that have been hurt by trade.

The new, four-year $1.2 billion program, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Communities, would build on current TAA programs for workers to help communities that experience trade-related hardships. The TAA for Communities program would help eligible communities negatively impacted by trade create economic development plans and attract new investment. Eligible communities must have previously received a TAA certification and have an average income of 80% of the federal poverty line, persistent long-term poverty, or significantly distressed by trade. Flint, Saginaw and Bay City would be eligible for this new TAA for Communities Program, as may other Michigan communities like Detroit, Dearborn, Holland, Grand Rapids, Warren, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac and Muskegon.

"When a manufacturing plant closes due to trade, it is not just the workers and the company that are negatively impacted--the entire surrounding community is affected. And while current Trade Adjustment Assistance programs focus on helping workers after they lose their jobs, we must do more to bring new economic opportunity to whole communities hurt by trade," said Congressman Kildee. "My legislation secures federal funding to help communities--older, industrial communities like Flint, Saginaw and Bay City--create strategic plans for local economic redevelopment projects. By providing more tools for communities to plan, invest and grow their local economies, we can set communities up for success to attract new jobs and opportunities. I am proud that this legislation to help older, industrial communities throughout Michigan was included in the House-passed Build Back Better budget."

"The Michigan Municipal League greatly appreciates Congressman Kildee's leadership on this important issue," said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director for the League, a non-profit organization representing Michigan's cities, villages and urban townships. "The League is a firm believer in building community wealth in ways that provide jobs and economic opportunities for all. Congressman Kildee's support of the TAA expansion helps build community wealth, particularly in urban, often-underserved communities and will go a long way to assisting those who need the most help."

"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."

Since being elected to Congress, Kildee has worked to change the way Congress and policymakers think about and invest in America's cities and towns. Congressman Kildee's "The Future of America's Cities and Towns" initiative encouraged policy discussions with local, state and federal elected officials, as well as public policy experts. It focused on the unique challenges and opportunities facing many older, industrial communities. He has been a consistent advocate for sustained, strategic federal investment in America's cities and towns, especially older, industrial communities across America. Recently, Congressman Kildee has introduced several bills, including the Revitalizing Downtowns Act, to encourage investment in Michigan's changing downtowns and promote redevelopment of vacant and abandoned property.

As a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, Kildee has advocated 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 can compete and win in the twenty-first-century economy.