U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, announced that on May 17, 2012, over three dozen Members of Congress joined him in an effort to encourage the Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw two proposed regulations on the H-2B program that would impose substantial costs and burdens on countless small businesses across the country, particularly in the Gulf Coast region.
Last year, DOL attempted to impose a regulation that would require small businesses to pay H-2B workers a substantially higher wage. Many employers claimed that the rule could put them out of business and require them to lay off American workers. In response, through his position as Vice-Chairman of the Appropriations Labor, Health, and Human Services Subcommittee, Alexander was able to prevent the regulation from taking effect during Fiscal Year (FY) 2012.
In February of this year, DOL announced it was implementing another regulation on H-2B employers that would impose a wide array of costs and burdens on small businesses. However, a federal court in Florida found fault with the rule and issued a preliminary injunction, preventing it from taking effect.
Alexander's letter said that, in addition to the dissent from hundreds of small businesses and a federal court, the resistance to these regulations in Congress "has been bipartisan, bicameral, and continues to strengthen as more members become educated on the effects these rules will have on small businesses and the economy." Alexander and his colleagues made clear that the "tide of opposition" to the proposed rules continues to grow, and that any further efforts by the Department to implement them would "only result in wasted time, money, and resources," all of which would be entirely "at the expense of taxpayers and small businesses."
"I hope the Labor Department will accept that these rules will do much more harm than good to our economy. These regulations will do nothing to create American jobs; in fact, these rules could prevent new American jobs from being generated, or even cause existing jobs to be lost," Alexander said. "This country does not want, nor can it afford, these senseless regulations. I will continue to work on legislative measures that prevent these rules from taking effect and inflicting unnecessary harm on businesses."
Alexander is the author of two current pieces of pending legislation, H.R. 3162 and H.J. Res. 104, which address the H-2B rules. The letter in its entirety is below.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, represents the 5th Congressional District and serves on the House Appropriations Committee.