Harmful Amendments Defeated, H-2B Cap Relief Still Elusive (9-7-17) Email
Thursday, September 07, 2017 12:00 AM

 

H-2B update

Please Help #SaveH2B: Harmful Amendments Defeated, H-2B Cap Relief Still Elusive

 Current Status of H-2B Efforts 

This is a very busy week in Congress and a crucial one in our fight to preserve the H-2B program. Earlier today, the Senate passed a Hurricane Harvey relief package that also raises the debt ceiling and continues existing government funding through December 8. The House is expected to pass the measure shortly. Under this legislation, the existing provisions of law related to H-2B wage surveys, staggered crossing for seafood workers, prohibitions on DOL enforcement of the H-2B corresponding employment and ¾ guarantee regulatory requirements and a 10-month season will be continued through December 8, but the Homeland Security Secretary’s authority to increase H-2B visas is still set to expire on October 1. 

In addition to the hurricane relief bill, the House is currently debating a fiscal 2018 mini-bus spending package for the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor and numerous other federal agencies. This spending package incorporates 8 of the 12 required annual spending bills. The House passed the other four federal spending bills prior to the August recess. The good news is that thanks to all of your outreach to the Hill, the House Rules Committee determined that two anti-H-2B amendments could not be offered on the House floor during the mini-bus debate, essentially killing those amendments.  An amendment filed by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) would have prevented any expansion of H-2B visas and an amendment by Rep. Brooks (R-AL) would have eliminated the regulatory reform provisions (wage surveys, staggered crossing, prohibitions against DOL enforcement of the corresponding wage survey and the ¾ guarantee, and a 10-month season) that are currently included in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee-passed versions of the fiscal 2018 DOL funding bill.

We expect that the 8-bill funding package currently being negotiated by the House will ultimately be folded into a larger omnibus appropriations bill that includes all federal agencies and which now must be passed by December 8. This will likely be the last opportunity to get H-2B cap relief passed before the end of the calendar year. We need your continued help to make cap relief a reality.

How Can You Help?

  • Call and email your Representative and ask him or her to continue to personally reach out to House Appropriations Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and DHS Subcommittee Chairman Carter (R-TX) and ask them to include H-2B cap relief in the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. If they have already weighed with the Chairman and with House Rules Committee Chairman Sessions (R-TX), please do not forget to thank them for fighting on your behalf.
  • You can reach your Representative through the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected, ask to speak to the staff person that handles H-2B visa issues. You can also ask for that staff person's email address and send a follow-up email. (email will generally be firstname.lastname@mail.house.gov)
  • Encourage your employees, co-workers, customers, and suppliers to also call and email their Representatives. 

We will not give up on the fight for H-2B cap relief or to preserve the regulatory relief that has been in force for the past two years.  We appreciate you joining us in this fight by reaching out to your elected officials again. We will not be successful unless everyone continues to pressure their lawmakers to act.

 
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