Last week, EDA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Natalie Higgins, and Will Rogers, Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association’s Director of Government Affairs, had a busy week lobbying on behalf of equipment dealers in Washington, D.C. The Farm Bill conference bills finally passed the House and Senate on Wednesday. The legislation is expected to be signed by President Trump later this week. EDA and INEDA lobbied extensively this year encouraging legislators to “do no harm” to crop insurance and to ensure that rural broadband components of the bill were preserved. “EDA has worked very hard on behalf of its members and their customers to get this bill across the finish line. We are pleased that crop insurance levels were maintained and to have some serious advancements in terms of rural broadband,” said Higgins.
EDA and INEDA also lobbied Congress members about a bi-partisan amendment to the appropriations bill known as the Tillis-Harris Amendment. This proposed amendment would require a permanent increase of H-2B visas from the current cap of 66,000 to 132,000. “With everyone talking about the shutdown, it remains unclear as to whether this important amendment will make it into the final version. EDA has been having serious discussions with legislators and encouraging our dealers to call their congressional leaders to insist it be included in the final appropriations bill. We will continue to work towards the inclusion of this important amendment because small and seasonal employers need these workers and the government should provide a long-term rather than ad-hoc solution.” Higgins emphasized. Rogers added “What it boils down to is that this is not an immigration issue, this is a workforce issue. With record low unemployment, the government must provide U.S. businesses with the ability to operate at a greater capacity so that they can, in turn, retain full time workers and contribute to local economies. Leaving the H-2B levels where they are now is leaving money on the table for American businesses and causing completely avoidable economic hardships to small businesses who are the backbone of our economy.” The drop sheet used by Rogers and Higgins during their Hill visits can be viewed here.
See EDA’s Dealer Call to Action on the Tillis-Harris Amendment here.