Wednesday, October 31, 2007

White House threatens veto of TAA bill

Surprised? You really shouldn't be by now.

The White House threatened on Tuesday to veto a bill to expand federal assistance for retraining workers who have lost their jobs because of trade, but said it wanted to work with Congress to revamp the program.

As we have mentioned before, this bill has a significant impact on Michigan and its workforce- but when it comes to helping the American people, apparently the Bush administration will routinely object.

"When it comes to trade, the time has come to deal fairly and squarely with American workers -- our Middle Class," Rep. Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.

"That's what our TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) bill does, but the president simply does not get it. The president wants to stiff the American worker and he will sacrifice his trade agenda if he does," McDermott said.

There is a vote on free trade with Peru that the House Democrats will likely use as leverage to get some compromise on this bill, but as it stands, Republicans are saying "no" to the workers who have been displaced by trade.

And once again, more surprise, I know, we hear the words "reform" come up as an excuse. Please turn to page 42 in the Republican Playbook, and follow along.

Republicans say they are committed to continuing and improving the trade adjustment assistance program, but favor "cost-effective" reforms they say would encourage workers to return to work more quickly than the Democrats' plan.

As if those workers don't want to return to work. "Encourage" is probably code for "we will cut you off" if you can't find a job.

The distinctions between direction of the parties continues to be clearly defined by these actions. So it goes in Lansing, so it goes in Washington. The Democrats are trying to help people, the Republicans are going to obstruct.

But what else is new?