A bipartisan group of House members is urging the Senate to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act as the end of the current Congress quickly approaches.  The House has already cleared the bipartisan legislation twice, but it continually gets held up in the Senate.  Idaho Representative Mike Simpson said FWMA was a major accomplishment.


“We worked on this for two years, Republicans and Democrats in the House.  Both sides gave up something. They got something. That's the way a compromise works. This is a damn good bill."


The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a new 7%-15% increase in H2-A wages.  If passed by the Senate, FWMA, that increase would be blocked, and H2-A wages would be frozen for one year, and then increases would be capped at 3.25%.  In exchange, the farm guest workers would get legalized status and have a path to citizenship.  A compromise the United Farm Workers and farm groups agreed to the terms in the bill.  Simpson said food costs will skyrocket if the Senate fails to act.


"Wages are going to go up, between 7%-15.5%.  Add that to the cost of fertilizer, the cost diesel, the cost of Transportation and other things. The cost of food is going to go through the ceiling if we don't get this bill passed. This will help keep prices down."


Lawmakers are really down to crunch time; the Senate is expected to gavel out for the year on Wednesday.


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