Farm Workforce Modernization Act Passes House

Dec 11, 2019
Agriculture
Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) joined in passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), bipartisan legislation to ensure our farmers can access the labor they need. This legislation was led by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04) along with 20 Republican and 24 Democrat original cosponsors, including Cathy.   
 
“While this bill isn’t perfect, it is an important step forward to provide relief to our farmers. If Washington farmers, ranchers, and dairymen are going to continue to keep food on the table for our community and the world, we need an agriculture workforce that will meet their needs,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Agriculture is Eastern Washington’s number one industry, and I’m glad we were able to come together, find common ground, and move forward on a compromise bill that will make a real difference for Eastern Washington agriculture.”  
 
NOTE: This bill is also supported by more than 300 agriculture groups, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and a number of other groups committed to finding a solution for farmers.  
 
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. 
 
Read a summary of the bill by clicking here.   
  
Read the full bill text by clicking here.   
 
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