On November 4, Reps. Chabot (R-OH), Goodlatte (R-VA), Harris (R-MD) and Boustany (R-LA) introduced the “Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act,” H.R.3918. The introduction follows the prior week’s introduction of the bipartisan “Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2015,” (S. 2225) by Senators Tillis (R-NC), Mikulski (D-MD), Cassidy (R-LA) and Warner (D-VA).
While the bills are slightly different, both the House and Senate bills would address the key issues that employers continue to face with the H-2B program. Both bills would exempt returning workers from the 66,000 annual cap, streamline the H-2B process, provide for a fair wage formula, allow for the use of private wage surveys and address the problems stemming from the new H-2B regulations.
The House bill goes further in that it would essentially remove the Department of Labor (DOL) from the H-2B process. The Senate bill includes provisions not in the House bill that would require greatly increased coordination between the Departments of State and Homeland Security in terms of the cap count, as well as improving public transparency about the cap numbers.
Now is the time to urge your two U.S. Senators, and your Representative in the House, to support these bills. Congress may also consider some of the H-2B fixes of these bills in a final FY2016 spending measure that must be acted on before December 11.
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