Obama Reaches Deal With Congress To Ship More Jobs Overseas – WTF?

by Ben Hoffman

WASHINGTON — The White House said Tuesday that it had finally reached a deal with Congress to allow free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to move forward to a vote.

The deal includes financing through 2013 for a program that provides benefits, including cash payments, to workers whose jobs are shipped overseas. The administration had refused to submit the agreements to Congress until Republicans agreed to extend the program, known as trade adjustment assistance, or T.A.A.

“Now it is time to move forward with T.A.A. and with the Korea, Colombia, and Panama trade agreements, which will support tens of thousands of jobs,” the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said in a statement.

Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is chairman of the Finance Committee, said that he would hold a committee hearing Thursday to consider the agreements.

Republicans issued statements that applauded the White House for moving forward with the trade deals, but said that worker benefits should be considered as a separate piece of legislation.

“T.A.A. should move through the Congress on its own merit and should stand up to rigorous Senate debate,” Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.


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