Newhouse Amendment Improving H-2A Program Included in FY 2019 House Agriculture Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee marked up the 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The legislation funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, agricultural trade, financial marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs. The legislation passed by the committee includes Rep. Newhouse’s amendment to improve the nation’s H-2A legal agriculture labor program and Rep. Newhouse’s and Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.’s (D-GA) amendment to protect the confidential commercial data in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Both of Rep. Newhouse’s amendments were approved by bipartisan voice votes.
“During my recent roundtables in Central Washington, one of the biggest concerns I heard from farmers was how inefficiently the current H-2A program operates for their businesses, which rely on consistent and reliable labor,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Currently, if a farmer petitions for workers, he or she must send multiple applications to multiple different agencies, often on paper, to complete the application process. I am pleased that my amendment was adopted to encourage streamlining of government and providing better customer service by directing the appropriate federal agencies to move forward on an online portal to process H-2A applications. I also appreciate that the committee included my amendment with Rep. Bishop to ensure that SNAP data continues to be proprietary and ensures that competition in the marketplace for food remains robust, particularly for independent grocers in low-income urban and rural communities.”
Hops Research – The Committee included language recognizing that the U.S. hops industry has experienced unprecedented expansion due to the brewing industry’s economic growth over the past decade. To sustain this growth, new varieties of hops are needed to prevent disease and expand production throughout the country. The Committee encourages Agriculture Research Service’s (ARS) continued efforts on hops research.
Potato Research – The Committee included language supporting research efforts to combat crop-threatening pest and disease pressures, including the potato cyst nematode. The Committee also recognizes the importance of research initiatives to identify and improve desired traits for new potato varieties and directs the Department to continue working with universities, industry and potato growers on these project.
Potato Collaborative Research – The Committee included language encouraging ARS to continue to cooperate with the potato industry in conducting competitive research that responds directly to priorities identified and verified by the potato industry and engages both ARS, universities and industry researchers in the research effort.
Small Grain Genomics – The Committee included language supporting research on small grain genomics to address national genomic and breeding needs for U.S. crops to keep small grains and feed as viable crops and continue their substantial contributions to the agricultural economy.