Your Help is Needed to #SaveH2B

September 18, 2019

Requested Actions:

 1.   If your Senator is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, please call his or her office and ask that your Senator work with committee leaders to include H-2B cap relief in Fiscal 2020 Department of Homeland Security and Labor Appropriations bills.  You may also want to share a copy of the attached letter that the H-2B Workforce Coalition sent to committee leaders earlier this week.  A list of Senate Appropriations Committee members is listed below.  You can reach you Senator through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to the office, please ask to speak to the staff person who handles H-2B issues. PLEASE DO NOT CALL SENATORS THAT DO NOT REPRESENT YOUR HOME STATE. NON-CONSTITUENT PHONE CALLS ARE NOT HELPFUL AT ALL.

Senate Appropriations Committee Members

Republicans
Chairman Richard Shelby (Alabama)
Senator Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
Senator Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)                
Senator Susan Collins (Maine) 
Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) 
Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri
Senator Jerry Moran (Kansas) 
Senator John Hoeven (North Dakota) 
Senator John Boozman (Arkansas)
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia) 
Senator John Kennedy (Louisiana) 
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (Mississippi) 
Senator Steve Daines (Montana
Senator Marco Rubio (Florida)
Senator James Lankford (Oklahoma)

Democrats
Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (Vermont)
Senator Patty Murray (Washington) 
Senator Dianne Feinstein (California) 
Senator Richard Durbin (Illinois) 
Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island) 
Senator Jon Tester (Montana) 
Senator Tom Udall (New Mexico) 
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire) 
Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon) 
Senator Christopher Coons (Delaware)
Senator Brian Schatz (Hawaii)
Senator Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)
Senator Chris Murphy (Connecticut) 
Senator Joe Manchin (West Virginia)
Senator Chris Van Hollen (Maryland)

 2.    We are also asking that everyone, regardless of your home state take a minute to send an email to your Senator.  Click here to send an email to your Senator via the link set up by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Background:

Congress is back in Washington after August recess and we expect to the Senate Appropriations Committee to soon begin taking up spending bills to fund various government agencies, including the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security. Subcommittee action on the DOL funding bill is slated for September 10.

The H-2B Work Force Coalition is working with Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to encourage them to include the same provisions that we were successfully able to include the House versions of the Fiscal 2020 Department of Labor and Homeland Security funding bills. The attached letter will support these efforts.

In June, the House-passed Fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS appropriations bill includes an amendment offered by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) that would allow for H-2B visas to be allocated proportionally on a quarterly basis. 

The DHS funding bill, passed the by the House Appropriations Committee in June, modifies the current H-2B cap discretionary language to take away some of the discretion from DHS about releasing additional visas.  The fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019 DHS appropriations bills said that DHS “may” release up to 69,320 visas if it determines that the needs of seasonal businesses cannot be met with American workers.  The bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee includes an amendment offered by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) that states that DHS “shall” release up to 69,320 visas if it determines that the needs of seasonal businesses cannot be met with American workers.