Bulldog GPS Tracking releases antitheft device
House committee approves security fiscal bill
Last week's approval of the 2017 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations fiscal bill was an important step toward extending the H-2B program into 2017.
The bill targets critical programs such as aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, the protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S.
Lawn & Landscape reached out to Paul Mendelsohn, vice president of government affairs for NALP, to see what this means for H-2B and the green industry.
“Basically, last week's vote was crucial for us to have any chance at extending H-2B to 2017,” Mendelsohn said in an email. “We still have a long road to go, but without the approval of the amendment to renew the returning worker exemption (RWE) for next year, the issue would have most likely been dead for the year.”
He said that's because it's unlikely a standalone bill would get any traction in an election year, whereas an appropriations bill has to be acted upon, or else the federal government shuts down.
In December of 2015, the RWE and other H-2B regulatory relief was included in the Omnibus spending measure. Last week's decision means it's positioned to follow a similar course.
“Right now, we have the regulatory relief language included in the Senate Department of Labor, Health, and Human Services budget and the RWE in the House Department of Homeland Security budget for fiscal year 2017,” Mendelsohn said. “The House Appropriations Committee did not include the regulatory relief in their Department of Labor budget, and the Senate did not include RWE in their Homeland Security budget.”
Because there are so few days left in the legislative calendar year where Congress will be in session, Mendelsohn said it is unlikely that the appropriations bills will be acted on by both chambers. If that's the case, we would most likely be looking at a situation like last year, where Congress will have to take action on a number of different budget areas simultaneously in order to avoid shutting down the federal government.