House Appropriations Committee Set to Markup Crucial Labor Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee is set to mark up a funding bill that could include some good news for farmers and ranchers. John Walt Boatright, director of government affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the bill, which dictates funding for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, includes a freeze on the Adverse Effect Wage Rate and fixes for recently-announced DOL rules.

Boatright says, “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. This bill includes some provisions that would provide some of that short-term relief for farmers, that stability for farm workers.”

Ahead of the markup, AFBF sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the committee offering support of the bill and expressing gratitude for the difficult work the committee has done. Boatright says, “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.”

In addition to freezing the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, the bill will also make labor rules more consistent than they’ve been recently. Boatright says, “This bill also addresses some of the flurry of rulemaking that has taken place just in the past couple of years.”