Aguilar Introduces Bill to Help Small Businesses Compete in Global Economy
Yesterday, Rep. Pete Aguilar introduced his latest bill, H.R. 4142, the Displaced Jobs Relief Act of 2015, which will boost resources for the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAA-F) program. The TAA for Firms program, facilitated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers technical assistance to businesses that—because of foreign competition—have seen significant job and sales losses. The bill increases funding authorization for the program per fiscal year from $16 million to $50 million, starting in 2016 and running through 2021. In 2009, authorization levels were set at $50 million until House Republicans cut funding levels to $16 million in Fiscal Year 2011.
“As the Inland Empire fights its way back from the Great Recession, we need to make sure that we use every tool available to help our businesses recover. Small businesses were dealt heavy blows in the past decade, both from our weakened economy and from flawed trade agreements. International trade plays an important role in our economy, but history has taught us that not all agreements are fair. Sometimes they take a toll on local businesses that don’t have the ability to handle unfair foreign competition,” said Rep. Aguilar.
He continued, “That’s why I introduced this bill. Trade Adjustment Assistance has played a crucial part in retraining and placing Americans in good-paying jobs for generations. If we increase the available funds, we can help protect hardworking Americans from losing business to unfair competition overseas.”
Once businesses apply for assistance, selected firms are paired with their local Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAAC) to craft an economic recovery plan to help their businesses compete. The plan must be completely implemented within five years. Regional TAACs provide some financial assistance; however this is in a supportive role, not as the sole provider. Between 2007 and 2015, over 1,200 firms with total annual sales of nearly $20 billion and a combined workforce of over one hundred thousand employees benefited from Trade Adjustment Assistance. California’s regional center, the Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (WTAAC), has worked with over 700 businesses in its region and has specifically assisted firms in 51 of the 53 Congressional Districts, including the 31st.
Getting San Bernardino County’s economy back on track is Rep. Aguilar’s top priority. That’s why weeks after taking office he convened regional Jobs Roundtables throughout the Inland Empire and released his Jobs Plan shortly thereafter. This is Rep. Aguilar’s latest bill to help businesses in the community recover and put residents back to work. Earlier this year he introduced the On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act, which has received bipartisan support, and in July he introduced the Small Business Jobs Act. The text of the Displaced Jobs Relief Act can be read here and his remarks on the House Floor can be viewed here.