The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act last week. The vote was 247-174, with 30 Republicans siding with 217 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.
The Hagstrom Report says the act would give farmworkers in the United States without legal documents a way to gain legal status. The House also passed the American Dreamers and Promise Act, which would allow young people who entered the U.S. as children without legal status to stay in the country.
“Farmworkers are vital to the wellbeing of our country and our economy,” says President Joe Biden. “For generations, farmworkers across America, many of whom aren’t in the country legally, have worked countless hours to feed our nation and ensure our communities are healthy and strong.”
He says that’s even more clear because of COVID-19.
Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California is a primary sponsor of the Ag Workforce Bill. She says stabilizing the ag labor supply will protect farmers and our future supply of food.
“The act accomplishes this by providing a path to legal status for farmworkers and updating and streamlining the H-2A temporary worker visa program.”
She says it also ensures fair wages and working conditions for all workers.
Some of America’s prominent agricultural leaders and organizations responded to the House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. National Milk Producers Federation CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Nothing gets done if we can’t move forward. The broad industry and bipartisan support for House passage of the act shows that we can achieve consensus.”
House Ag Committee Chair David Scott of Georgia says, “A stable supply of labor is essential for our U.S. agriculture industry to help it thrive in the face of the ongoing competition. I will continue to work with stakeholders and our colleagues in the Senate to make improvements to this needed legislation.”