AHC: Contact Congress Now To Urge Support For H-2B Worker Program

Congress will need to take action on all fiscal year 2016 appropriations bills before current funding expires Dec. 11, 2015, according to an action alert from the American Horse Council.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) appropriations bills include important and helpful language that will make the H-2B program easier for employers to use. However, there is no guarantee this language will be included in the 2016 appropriations package or “Omnibus bill” that is being negotiated now and action is need immediately.

The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs as grooms, exercise riders, and stable attendants at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.

If you, your business or members of your organization rely on H-2B workers, please contact your Senators to express support for the H-2B appropriations language that is included in the DOL and DHS appropriations bills. Urge them to sign the H-2B letter being circulated by Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Boustany (R-LA) that asks the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to include all of the beneficial H-2B provisions from both the House and Senate DHS and DOL bills in any final appropriations bill.

You can reach your members of Congress through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to your Senators’ or Representative’s office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles Department of Labor and Department Homeland Security appropriations.

Call them today and tell them:

–You support and rely on the H-2B Program.
–Please sign the H-2B letter that is being circulated by Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Boustany (R-LA).

THE DEADLINE FOR SIGNING IS NOON ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6. This letter asks the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to include all of the beneficial H-2B provisions from the House and Senate Departments of Homeland Security and Labor Appropriations bills.

Horse farms, trainers, horseshows, and others in the horse industry are often unable able to find Americans who are willing and able to take jobs as grooms, and stable attendants.
 Despite substantial efforts to recruit American workers the industry has been forced to rely on foreign workers and the H-2B temporary worker program to meet their labor needs.

The H-2B language in the DOL and DHS appropriations bills will help ensure the H-2B program is available to the horse industry and other small and seasonal businesses.
 You can also use the contact form on your representatives website, and copy and paste the following message:

Dear Senator:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) FY2016 appropriations bills include important language concerning the H-2B non-agriculture temporary worker program. I urge you to sign the letter being circulated by Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Boustany (R-LA), asking the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to include all of the beneficial H-2B provisions from both the House and Senate DHS and DOL appropriations bills in any final omnibus appropriations bill.

The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs as grooms, exercise riders, and stable attendants at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.

The racing and showing segments of the industry are particularly dependent on the use of foreign workers. The horse racing industry has a $26.1 billion economic impact and supports 380,826 jobs. The horse show industry has a $28.7 billion economic impact and supports 380,416 jobs. The workers provided by the H-2B program are a small portion of horse industry workers, however they play a vital role within the industry.

Most H-2B workers in the industry are directly responsible for the care of the horses upon which the entire horse industry is dependent. Without these workers to care for the industry’s horses, many American jobs provided by and supported by the horse industry could be in jeopardy.

However, on April 29, 2015, the DHS and DOL issued a final interim H-2B program rule and a final wage rule that have made the H-2B program significantly more costly and burdensome to use.

The H-2B provisions in the House and Senate DHS and DOL appropriations bills would make several important reforms to the H-2B program and roll back some of the most burdensome provisions of the 2015 H-2B rule. Please support the horse industry and sign the H-2B letter being circulated by Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Boustany (R-LA). The deadline for signing is noon on Friday, November 6.

If you are unsure as to who your representative is, please visit the Find Your Representative page on the House website http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.