Bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act Passes the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­­–– Today, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill spearheaded by Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04) and bipartisan members, passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bipartisan effort was negotiated over eight months with input from agricultural stakeholders and labor organizations and was introduced with the support of 26 Democrats and 23 Republicans.

“Today, the House took a significant and necessary step for the American agriculture industry and our farmers who have long-needed a legal, reliable workforce,” said Rep. Diaz-Balart. “It’s critical that we continue to grow and produce our food here in the United States. The moment we hand that power to another country, we put our national security at risk, along with millions of American jobs. This legislation would allow us to have the necessary workforce to continue to provide for our citizens, while giving permanence to our agricultural workers who have devoted their lives to the industry. I am proud to be an original sponsor of this bill, and I thank my colleagues who have worked tirelessly on this issue. I encourage the Senate to work with us so this bill can be signed into law– It’s time to modernize our agriculture industry and reinforce our economy.”

“The men and women who work America’s farms feed the nation. But, farmworkers across the country are living and working with uncertainty and fear, contributing to the destabilization of farms across the nation,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for farmworkers. In addition, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act addresses the nation’s future labor needs by modernizing an outdated system for temporary workers, while ensuring fair wages and workplace conditions. I urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead and swiftly pass the first-of-its-kind bipartisan immigration compromise in decades that improves America’s agricultural labor programs and laws.”

“Creating a legal and reliable workforce for American agriculture has been one of my highest priorities since coming to Congress,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse. “Our farmers and ranchers facing a labor crisis need relief, and the men and women who contribute to our nation’s agriculture industry need certainty. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is the first step. This bill is our opportunity to finally provide stability to America’s farms and a significant improvement over the status quo. I am grateful to Representative Lofgren, our bipartisan coalition, and all of the agriculture and labor groups who helped draft the bill, and I encourage input from my colleagues as we continue working to improve this legislation in the Senate.”

“I am thrilled to see the Farm Workforce Modernization Act pass the House with a strong bipartisan vote,” said Rep. Mike Simpson. “Idaho farmers and ranchers have been asking me for years to address their labor needs and this bill takes an important step towards solving this issue. I would like to thank my colleagues Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, and Representatives Dan Newhouse, Mario Diaz-Balart, Doug LaMalfa, and Jimmy Panetta for their months of tireless efforts spent listening to farmers and workers alike to help craft this solution. It isn’t a perfect solution but compromise rarely is. The bill balances strong immigration enforcement with common sense reforms that allow our farmers to access a legal workforce without granting any special pathways. I hope the Senate can move similar legislation so we can sign a solution into law.”

“I’m happy to see a good commonsense bi-partisan bill pass the House that is fair to farmers, farmworkers, and to U.S. citizens.  In California, and across the U.S., farmers have been calling for a reliable and legally documented workforce for years. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act addresses these issues in a constructive manner that provides much-needed certainty for workers and farmers,” said Rep. Doug LaMalfa. “Today’s strong vote in the House should help ensure the Senate will continue the effort we started. “

“The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a critical, bipartisan step forward for both our farmers and farmworkers,” Rep. Jimmy Panetta said. “I am thankful that the House advanced this effort to protect our existing farmworkers and promote an enduring workforce for agriculture. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to get this bill passed into law.”

The bill has garnered the wide-spread support of more than 300 agriculture groups and labor organizations.

The full list of cosponsors includes: Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV-02); Rep. James Baird (R-IN- 04); Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37); Rep. Anthony Brindisi(D-NY-22); Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN-05); Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24); Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29); Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27); Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-04); Rep. Luis J. Correa (D-CA-46); Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-16); Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA-21); Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02); Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-6); Rep. Henry Cuellar  (D-TX-28); Rep. John Curtis  (R-UT-03); Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13); Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13); Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19); Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25); Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16); Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1); Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11); Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-3); Rep. Sylvia Garcia  (D-TX-29); Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07); Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA-10); Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3); Rep. Peter King (R-NY-2); Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01); Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL-05); Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05); Rep. Paul Mitchell  (R-MI-10); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10); Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04); Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22); Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-1); Rep. Jimmy Panetta  (D-CA-20); Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52); Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-07); Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1); Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23); Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36); Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38); Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05); Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA-08) ; Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID-02); Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08); Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11); Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07); Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19); Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21); Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT-2); Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15); Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY-3); Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5); Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO-3); Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA-35); Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-02); Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-06); Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX-34); Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-02); and Rep. Don Young  (R-AK- At Large).

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