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Bill would provide quicker relief for displaced workers

Minnesota and Pennsylvania lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation in Washington that would speed up the federal effort to provide relief for workers displaced by illegal trade.

The Workforce Training Enhancement Act would allow the Department of Labor to reimburse states that choose to provide federal benefits to workers while their petition to receive benefits is pending.

The issue hit home in Minnesota in 2015 when it took the U.S. Department of Labor an average of 50 days to review and approve Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers petitions, so called TAA relief, to laid-off Steelworkers who lost their jobs because of foreign steel sales in the U.S. TAA provides training and education benefits for laid-off workers.

The bills were introduced by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota and  Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, all Democrats, and by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., in the House.