Help Wanted Can Congress Help?
Guest workforce programs relied upon by the equine industry are the subjects of new initiatives on Capitol Hill.
Chairman Thompson (R-PA-15) and Ranking Member Scott (D-GA-13) of the House Committee on Agriculture announced the formation of the Bipartisan Working Group. The Committee leaders released the following statement, “The Committee on Agriculture has heard loud and clear from producers across the nation that one of the biggest challenges confronting the agriculture industry is a lack of reliable labor. Though not directly in our committee’s jurisdiction, we have a responsibility to be a voice in Congress on the issues and policies impacting farmers and ranchers. This is a complex problem that deserves the focused attention of the Members who hear from producers every day rather than the partisan grandstanding that has plagued these efforts in the past.”
AHC is contacting members of the Working Group to offer input from the perspective of the equine industry for both the H-2A and H-2B programs. Please contact AHC here with your comments and concerns so that we may incorporate them with our outreach.
Legislation to streamline temporary work visa programs, specifically H-2A and H-2B is pending introduction. The H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act to be introduced by Representatives Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23) and co-sponsors Representatives Cuellar (D-TX-28), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX- 34), Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ-6), Stephanie Bice (R-OK-5), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2), James Moylan (R-Guam), Mike Lawler (R-NY-17), and Chris Pappas (D-NH-1) would:
- Expand H-2A/H-2B labor certification period to three years.
- Permanently authorize waiving the in-person interview requirement for returning H-2A/H-2B workers
AHC supports this measure along with the American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, U.S. Trotting Association, and the H-2B Coalition.