House Passes First FY 2023 Minibus Appropriations Package
This week, the House approved a six-bill minibus appropriations package on a 220 to 207 vote. The package includes the FY 2023 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies funding bills.
Several amendments were adopted on the floor. A division-by-division summary can be found here. The text of the Rules Committee Print can be found here. A list of adopted amendments can be found here. The Rule for H.R. 8294, with a list of all amendments and a description provided by the sponsor, can be found here.
The Senate is expected to release their FY 2023 appropriations bills sometime next week.
House Holds Hearing on H2-A and H-2B
This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections convened a hearing to review and assess the impact H2 Visa Programs (H-2A and H-2B) have on workers.
Members and witnesses raised concerns about H-2A employers are discriminating against American farm workers and the lack of protection from extortion and workforce abuse endured by workers. Members highlighted the need for the same labor protections afforded to workers in other industries.
Members also criticized the Biden Administration’s immigration policy and handling of the southern border and said that Congress cannot meaningfully discuss reforming the H2 Programs until the border is secure and under control. Witnesses noted that employers participating in the H2 Programs who comply with the many regulations, and are subject to oversight from DOL, are frustrated that other employers are hiring undocumented workers with virtually no governmental involvement. It was also stated that from the worker perspective, workers participating in the programs to legally enter the U.S. are being deterred from doing so due to the high number of migrants crossing the border illegally that still receive similar jobs to those received by H2 participants.
Witnesses encouraged Congress to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act which they stated would give opportunities for farm workers to work in the U.S. with a path to permanent residency. Additionally, witnesses advocated for the passage of the Fairness for Farm Workers Act which they said would protect farm workers and afford them the same rights as workers in other industries.
ITC Rejects Fertilizer Tariff
This week, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to reject antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of fertilizer from Trinidad and Tobago and Russia. The vote may help ease price increases and shortages in the U.S.