Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
Goodlatte Praises Senator Chambliss upon Introduction of Ag Guest Worker Legislation
WASHINGTON – Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee today commended U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, for his introduction of legislation to reform the H-2A temporary visa process, without providing amnesty for illegal workers. Goodlatte is also a Member of the Judiciary Committee.
Chambliss’s legislation gives farmers and workers a sensible way to obtain H-2A visas by simplifying the application process, providing a prevailing wage rate, and ensuring U.S. workers won't be displaced while meeting the agriculture industry's needs.
Goodlatte introduced companion legislation in the House at the end of last year. H.R. 3604, the Temporary Agricultural Labor Reform Act, is a bi-partisan bill that will reform the H-2A guest worker program by creating a more streamlined and fair process for everyone involved in the agriculture industry. Ranking Agriculture Committee Member Charlie Stenholm was an original cosponsor of the legislation, along with 32 other Members of Congress.
“Agriculture needs a reliable guest worker program,” Goodlatte continued. “They need workers with access to stable, legal, temporary employment. It is in our national security interest to create a sensible way for workers to come in on a temporary basis, fill empty jobs, and go back to their home countries rather then remain here permanently working illegally and below the radar screen of our national security system. I commend Senator Chambliss for his leadership on this issue which is of critical importance to American agriculture and our national security and look forward to working with him to move this legislation forward.”
“Both my bill, and Senator Chambliss’s bill would provide a legal, temporary workforce that employers can call on only when sufficient American labor cannot be found, and help ensure that those temporary workers entering the country are not threats to our national security.”