Washington, D.C. — Today, Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Tim Scott (R-SC), along with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), led 26 of their Republican colleagues to introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn a misguided rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) that will drastically increase costs for American farmers.
Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) and House Agriculture Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) introduced an identical resolution in the House of Representatives with 53 other members of the House.
Sen. Budd said in a statement:
“At a time when farmers and growers are already being pushed to their limit as a result of rising input costs and shrinking margins, President Biden’s Labor Department is adding yet another burden. At the same time, families are struggling to afford their daily lives because of the Biden administration’s inflationary policies. This new rule will only add fuel to the fire by driving the cost of food and supplies up even higher. Congress must overturn this harmful rule to ensure that America’s farmers have a seat at the table when the federal government issues policies that could exacerbate their already significant labor and operational costs. I am pleased to join my colleagues in this important effort, which has overwhelming support from leaders in the agriculture community.”
Sen. Scott said in a statement:
“Raised by a single mom, I know how hard it can be for families to make ends meet. When big government makes it more difficult to put food on the table, you know there’s been a monumental failure of leadership. Yet that’s exactly what President Biden’s Department of Labor is proposing: forcing farmers to shoulder the burden of higher labor costs and causing food prices to spike even further. I’m proud to stand with farmers and families in South Carolina and across the country in opposing this disastrous, out-of-touch rule. America needs a leader who puts families first.”
North Carolina Farm Bureau President Shawn Harding said:
“North Carolina Farm Bureau thanks Sen. Ted Budd for his leadership on this important Congressional Review Act bill. Farmers here in North Carolina and all across America continue to struggle with challenges like inflation and supply chain disruptions, and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule creates uncertainty in the farm labor market that could not have come at a worse time. Sen. Budd’s proposal to repeal the DOL rule is a welcome signal that farmers’ voices are heard, and they have a seat at the policy table.”
Rep. Norman said:
“The Department of Labor’s new rule will only increase our reliance on imported food to keep our grocery shelves stocked, while still raising the cost of food and supplies. This is the last thing American families want.”
Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Glenn “GT” Thompson said:
“Food security is national security, and no industry is more affected by our broken immigration system than agriculture. Ensuring a reliable, year-round workforce is critical to driving the economy, feeding the world, and promoting the safety and security of our nation. The Biden Administration’s latest H-2A wage rule would further undermine farmers’ access to a legal workforce, drive up already inflated production costs, and ultimately impact American consumers at the grocery store.”
- Currently, all H-2A workers are paid in accordance with the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), and over the last decade, the average AEWR has grown at twice the rate of inflation.
- A final rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) published on February 28 would change the AEWR methodology and require farms using H-2A workers to administer separate, higher wage rates for certain jobs.
- This change not only inflates H-2A wage rates, but it also creates a massive administrative burden for all H 2A farmers who now have to separately track every activity of every employee on their farms to avoid violating the new rule.
- DOL ignored farmers’ concerns that the proposed threshold for triggering the higher wage category is too trivial and that it will lead to miscategorized workers and massive new administrative costs.