Newhouse: Ag Labor Issue On Pause In Senate

As lawmakers start a new year in Washington D.C., one of the biggest questions the farming community is hoping to see addressed revolves around Ag labor and immigration reform. Dan Newhouse, coauthor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, said despite passing the House, the legislation has stalled in the Senate, primarily because President Biden’s Build Back Better contains some provisions to address immigration.

“Senators have kind of taken their foot off the gas as far as moving our Ag labor reform bill, because they wanted to see what would happen with Build Back Better legislation.”

But with Build Back Better struggling in the Senate, Newhouse said it may be time to rekindle conversations around the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. And Newhouse noted, even if FWMA is not legislation all lawmakers can support, it’s vital that something is done in D.C. He said when looking at how tight margins will be this season, its important lawmakers look at the possibility of legislation that will clear the House and have better odds in the Senate.

“There are a number of us particularly on the Republican side, but also some democrats that are looking at alternative measures that could address some of the same issues,” said the chair of the Western Caucus. “We’re working with folks from Florida, California, all over the country to strategize on how we can not let the momentum behind this effort expire and the we can actually get something done.”

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