Congress passed a six month continuing resolution (CR) last week to fund government agencies through March 2013. For the Thoroughbred industry, the CR impacts those who employ H-2B temporary foreign workers by prohibiting the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing a new H-2B wage rule. This new rule could significantly raise the rates employers must pay H-2B workers.

The controversial H-2B wage rule originally was to begin on January 1, 2012 but the DOL was forced by Congress last December to delay this until the start of the federal government’s next fiscal year on October 1, 2012. Last week’s CR further delays implementation of the rule.

Congress uses a CR when it fails to pass a formal appropriations bill before the end of the Congressional fiscal year (October 1-September 30). Congress passed no appropriations bills this year.

Additionally, a federal district court judge in Florida is expected to soon provide a ruling in a case on the future of an H-2B program rule that would increase the administrative burden on those in the Thoroughbred industry who employ H-2B temporary foreign workers. Litigants in this case against the DOL include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the landscape and forestry industries.