Trade Adjustment Assistance Introduction and Overview


Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a group of programs that target federal assistance to workers, firms, farmers, and communities that have been adversely affected by foreign trade. TAA was created by the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (P.L. 87-794) and has been reauthorized and expanded several times in subsequent years, most prominently as part of the Trade Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-618), the Trade Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-210), the Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act of 2009, and the Act to extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes (including Title II, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011) (P.L. 112-40).

The largest TAA program, TAA for Workers (TAAW) provides federal assistance to workers who have been separated from their jobs because of increased imports or because their jobs moved to a foreign country.  The largest components of the TAAW program are (1) training funds to prepare workers for a new occupation and (2) income support for workers who are enrolled in an eligible training program and have exhausted their unemployment compensation.  The TAAW program is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL).  DOL also administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.  This program provides competitive grants to institutions of higher education to develop, improve, or offer training programs that can be completed in two years or less and are appropriate for workers who are eligible for the TAAW program.

TAA programs are also available to firms and farmers that have been adversely affected by international competition.  TAA for Firms, administered by the Department of Commerce, supports trade-impacted businesses by providing technical assistance in developing business recovery plans and by providing matching funds to implement those plans.  TAA for Farmers, administered by the Department of Agriculture, provides technical support and cash benefits to producers of agricultural commodities and fisherman who are adversely affected by increased imports.

All TAA programs are authorized by the Trade Act of 1974, as amended. The programs for workers, firms, and farmers were most recently reauthorized by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011 (Title II of P.L. 112-40).  The authorizations of appropriations for these three programs are scheduled to expire December 31, 2014.  The TAACCCT program was funded with four years of advance appropriations, beginning in FY2011.  FY2014 is the final year of scheduled funding for TAACCCT grants.

An annual report, required by statute, is due to Congress for each of the TAA programs.  Although due to Congress no later than February 15, 2014, DOL provided its TAAW FY2013 Annual Report to Congress on October 3, 2014.  Because this report was not provided to Congress in a timely manner, this chapter of the Green Book only contains data for TAAW through FY2012.   Furthermore, DOL has not met its statutory deadline for providing its required annual report for the TAACCCT program, due to Congress no later than December 15, 2013.  Therefore, this chapter of the Green Book only contains data for this program through FY2012.

Chapter Overview

This chapter of the Green Book includes a series of Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports, one of which provides a legislative history of TAA and the others discuss TAA programs. A subsequent section lists all Tables and Figures contained in these CRS reports, and includes Additional Tables and Figures related to TAA. The chapter also includes Links to Additional Resources.

This page was prepared on August 14, 2014 for the 2014 version of the House Ways and Means Committee Green Book.