Peterson applauds House passage of Bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act
December 12, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill spearheaded by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04), passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a 260-165 vote.
“The need for a reliable and legal source of workers is a top priority for the agriculture industry, and I am proud to support the bipartisan Farm Worker Modernization Act, which is a significant improvement for rural America. This bill is great for our dairy industry, but we still need to address meat and poultry processing workforce needs going forward. I want to thank Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Newhouse, and the bipartisan group of Members for their hard work in getting us to this point,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.
The bipartisan effort was negotiated over eight months with input from agricultural stakeholders and labor organizations and was introduced with the support of 26 Democrats and 23 Republicans. Click here for a one-pager and click here for bill text.
Leaders from the dairy industry in the Seventh District and across Minnesota voiced their support for the bill as well, thanking Chairman Peterson for his leadership on the issue.
The full list of cosponsors includes: Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV-02); Rep. James Baird (R-IN- 04); Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37); Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22); Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN-05); Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24); Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29); Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27); Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-04); Rep. Luis J. Correa (D-CA-46); Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-16); Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA-21); Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02); Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-6); Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28); Rep. John Curtis (R-UT-03); Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13); Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13); Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19); Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25); Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16); Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1); Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11); Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-3); Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29); Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07); Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA-10); Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3); Rep. Peter King (R-NY-2); Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01); Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL-05); Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05); Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10); Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04); Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22); Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-1); Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20); Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52); Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-07); Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1); Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23); Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36); Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38); Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05); Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA-08) ; Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID-02); Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08); Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11); Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07); Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19); Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21); Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT-2); Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15); Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY-3); Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5); Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO-3); Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA-35); Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-02); Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-06); Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX-34); Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-02); and Rep. Don Young (R-AK- At Large).
Farmers and ranchers across the United States are in desperate need of a high-quality, reliable workforce, and the current H-2A guestworker program is in need of meaningful, bipartisan reform. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act creates a workforce solution for America’s agriculture industry by providing stability, predictability, and fairness to one of the most critical sectors of our nation’s economy.
The bill will:
• Establish a program for agricultural workers in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the U.S. agricultural economy.
• Reform the H-2A program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring critical protections for workers. The bill focuses on modifications to make the program more responsive and user-friendly for employers and provides access to the program for industries with year-round labor needs.
• Establish a mandatory, nationwide E-Verify system for all agricultural employment with a structured phase-in and guaranteed due process for authorized workers who are incorrectly rejected by the system.