Labor Bill Passes Appropriations

Dan Agri-Business, Labor and Immigration, Legislative

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There was strong debate at the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, as the full committee marked up the bill for fiscal year 2025 funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

“The bill puts workers first by ensuring businesses can stay open. We protect farmers from a Labor Department determined to close small family-owned farms across the nation with regulation after regulation that are having a disastrous effect on our ranchers and our growers,” said Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) as he introduced the bill. “We protect workers from a rule that would eliminate freelance opportunities for sixty-four million American men, women, seniors and others.”

Some ag groups that are watching the process closely say the bill could have benefits for farmers and ranchers. Director of government affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, John Walt Boatright, says it includes a freeze on the Adverse Effect Wage Rate and fixes for recently announced Department of Labor rules.

“The provisions in this bill really seek to provide some stability in an area that we haven’t really had a lot of stability over the past couple of decades as it relates to our labor shortages and our labor costs in farm country,” he said. “This bill includes some provisions that would provide some of that short-term relief for farmers, that stability for farm workers.”

Farm Bureau previously sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the committee in support of the bill and encouraging approval of it. “They have included some positive labor provisions that would provide some short-term relief and certainty for farmers and ranchers, so we, in that letter, recognized the work that the appropriators have done and urged the adoption of those provisions,” Boatright said. He said the bill will also make labor rules more consistent than they’ve been recently.

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.