On Wednesday, December 11, the U.S. House passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038) by a vote of 260-165, with 226 Democrats and 34 Republicans voting in the affirmative. This bipartisan action was applauded by NPC and now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“Representatives Lofgren, Newhouse, and Simpson are commended for reaching across party lines to create and pass a bipartisan bill that will benefit both growers and laborers. Even during these highly partisan times, the passage of an agricultural labor reform bill demonstrates how Congress can work together to do what’s best for farms, families, and communities” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles in a press release. “As the bill moves through the legislative process, we will continue to work with the Senate and in conference committee to improve the measure and enact long-term labor solutions that support the health of our industry.”
The bill was strongly supported by the potato industry and American agriculture broadly. Over 300 individual agriculture organizations encouraged House members to take this critical step in providing guestworker program reform, stabilizing the current workforce, and mandating new enforcement measures.
“The House should be commended for taking the crucial step of starting the legislative process to stabilize our agricultural workforce and contribute to the future success of the U.S. potato industry. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act seeks to enhance the efficiency of the H-2A program for seasonal workers while creating a new long-term solution for year-round agricultural labor, including necessary strong enforcement measures,” said NPC First Vice President of Legislative and Government Affairs Britt Raybould.