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VOA慢速英语[经济报道]美参院通过贸易促进权法案

2015-06-30    来源:普特英语听力    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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The United States Senate recently passed a measure called Trade Promotion Authority. Under the bill, the Congress can only vote for or against a trade agreement once it has been negotiated. This ability to “fast-track” such agreements would be important when Congress considers possible trade deals with Asian and Pacific countries and also Europe.
 
But the issue of free trade can fuel a debate about U.S. jobs. Many labor unions and Democratic Party members support a little-known federal program for American workers. It is called the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. It provides financial assistance to those who lose their job because of increased foreign competition. Conservatives say the program is ineffective and costs too much.
 
However, a former steel worker who spoke with VOA says the program works and should be expanded. Michael Smith worked at the Bethlehem Steel Mill in Sparrows Point, Maryland. The mill was once a major producer of steel. It employed as many as 30,000 Americans. Mr. Smith was a crane operator for Bethlehem Steel for 13 years. Recently, he returned to the grounds.
 
"I remember what this place used to be. I remember the sights, the sounds, the tractors. It’s actually hard physically standing here. I mean, my heart hurts."
 
The mill closed in 2012 as a result of a series of business decisions and increasing global competition. That left Mr. Smith and 2,500 mill workers with no jobs and few marketable skills.
 
“I was blessed enough to find a program called TRA ((Trade Readjustment Allowance)) and TAA ((Trade Adjustment Assistance)), which is a union bargain benefit that was provided to us.”
 
The TAA program gave Mr. Smith a weekly stipend. He used his retraining assistance to pay for books and school tuition fees. He recently completed his college studies and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
 
Michael Smith's experience with the program was good. However, many conservatives say TAA is wasteful and ineffective. Dan Ikenson studies trade policies for the Cato Institute research group. He says that for every job lost to trade, 30 jobs are lost for other reasons. He spoke to VOA on Skype.
 
“My first question is: why should we treat people who lose jobs or can tie their job loss in some way to trade any differently than we treat other people who lose their jobs?”
 
Dan Ikenson says trade creates more winners than losers. Instead of government aid, he says manufacturers are better equipped to retrain displaced workers.
 
The Senate voted to extend the 400-million dollar program as part of a fast-track bill to speed pending free trade deals with Pacific countries. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on the trade legislation.
 
I’m Mario Ritter.

 文本来源于普特论坛[report整理] SENEWS-2015-06-05


最近,美国参议院通过了一项称为“贸易促进权”的举措。根据该法案,当一项贸易协定达成后,国会仅有权投票支持或反对。当国会审批与亚太国家和欧洲可能签订的贸易协定时,这一快速审批这类协议的能力将变得尤为重要。

但是自由贸易的问题将引发关于美国就业的热议。许多工会和民主党党员支持一项针对美国工人而鲜有人知的联邦计划,这称为贸易调整援助计划,其向这些因为国外竞争而失业的人士提供经济援助。保守党称该计划无效而烧钱。

但是,一名前钢铁工人告诉美国之音该计划有用且应该普及。迈克尔史密斯以前在位于马里兰州斯帕罗斯角的伯利恒钢铁厂工作。该工厂曾经是一家重要钢铁制造厂,拥有多达30000名的员工,史密斯先生作为起重机操作员在该公司工作了13年,但是,最近,他又回到了这里。

“我记得这个地方以前的样子,那时的场景、声响和牵引机,事实上,我很难站在这里,我的意思是我很心痛。”

该工厂于2012年因为一系列经营决策和全球竞争的加剧而倒闭。这使得史密斯先生和2500名工厂工人失业且他们很少具备市场竞争需要的技能。

“我很幸运发现了贸易调整津贴计划(TRA)和贸易调整援助计划(TAA),这是为我们提供联合协议福利。”

贸易调整援助计划每周向史密斯先生提供津贴,他利用再培训的援助支付了书籍和学费,最近已经从大学毕业并获得心理学学士学位。

迈克尔史密斯的计划体验很不错,但是,许多保守人士称贸易调整援助计划是浪费和无效的,Dan Ikenson在卡托研究所研究组研究政策,他透过Skype告诉美国之音,每出现一例因贸易而失业的情况,就有30份失业是因为其它原因。

“我的第一个问题是:为什么我们必须区别对待某种程度而言因贸易而失业的人和其它失业者?”

Dan Ikenson称贸易带来了比失败者更多的优胜者,制造商更有能力重新培训失业人员,而非依靠政府援助。

参议院投票通过了扩大这项4亿美元的计划,作为快速审批法案的一部分,以促成悬而未决的美国与太平洋国家的自由贸易协定。众议院尚未对该贸易立法进行表决。

我是Mario Ritter.



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