H-2B: Congress Again Holds Our Spring Season in Its Hands
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Whether or not there will be enough H-2B visas to ensure an orderly and productive Spring of 2017 is all up to Congress. Here's the setup.
Earlier this summer, the House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the fiscal 2017 Department of Homeland Appropriations bill, which would renew the H-2B returning worker exemption for 2017. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Department of Labor Appropriations bill that would extend H-2B regulatory relief provisions for another year and provide additional resources for H-2B processing.
While Congress is not expected to complete work on a final spending bill before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, it is expected to pass a stop-gap spending measure called a "continuing resolution" (CR) that will keep the federal government running. AmericanHort and our H-2B Workforce Coalition allies have been reaching out to Congressional leaders and appropriators to stress the necessity of including the H-2B returning worker exemption in whatever spending measure passes to ensure that the returning worker exemption does not expire on September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016.
If Congress fails to do this, all eyes will be on December, when Congress could pass an omnibus package funding the federal government for the rest of 2017. If Congress fails to act at all, the landscape industry may be short thousands of workers next Spring. This hurts everyone in horticulture - landscape businesses and also growers, garden retailers, landscape distributors, and suppliers. Since it's everyone's problem, everyone needs to urge Congress to act!
Take action now to let your elected representatives know that our industry needs H-2B certainty on October 1. Congress must include the returning worker exemption and regulatory relief in the spending measure it must soon pass.
Click here to send your message today.