Progress Being Made in Guest-Worker Visa Reform

The American Horse Council has issued the following update.

American Horse Council

The American Horse Council has issued a statement on the progress of guest worker visa reform.

On September 15, the House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 that will serve as a benchmark for negotiations with the Senate on a final package. Congress must negotiate a final bill by December 8, when the current continuing resolution (CR) to fund federal programs at FY2017 levels will expire. While the equine industry and its allies have taken an important first step by inserting some H-2B visa reform measures within the text of the current House spending bill (such as wage-survey flexibility), the fight to insert broader visa cap relief in a final spending bill continues.

Fortunately, Congress can fix the broken guest worker visa program by acting on legislation currently moving through the legislative process. AHC members can help push the legislative process forward by weighing in with your elected officials in Washington. Contact your federal lawmakers today and urge them to support H2B visa reform through the following vehicles:

FY2018 Appropriations-Tell your lawmakers to include H-2B visa cap relief provisions in the final spending bill. This must-pass legislation is the most active vehicle moving through Congress. Meaningful cap relief includes common-sense exemptions for returning guest workers.

Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities (SEASON) Act (H.R. 2004)–Tell your representative to cosponsor H.R. 2004, which will provide cap relief by establishing an exemption for well-vetted workers who have already held a visa. This bill currently has 30 co-sponsors, a number which must grow to gain more political traction. If your representative is already a sponsor, tell him to contact leadership to assure passage.

Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 (S. 792)–Call both of your senators and tell them to cosponsor S. 792, legislation that will expedite applications to meet labor demands during peak seasons. This bipartisan bill currently has 12 sponsors, and will need many more to win floor time in the Senate. If your senators are already sponsors, tell them to contact leadership to make the bill a high priority.

To contact your lawmaker's Washington office, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121, and ask to be connected to your elected official's office. Also, you can your representative and senators by using #SaveH2B on social media.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.