In Maryland, a provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 could help the struggling seafood industry on the Eastern Shore.
Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Democrat from Maryland with a self-proclaimed soft spot for the Eastern Shore, and the uber-conservative Republican Rep. Andy Harris may not see eye to eye on a lot of issues, but they are in full agreement on a provision in the bill that would allow the seafood industry to stagger its seasonal foreign workers that come to the country on H-2B work visas.
These foreign workers help the industry keep up with the seafood harvest during the busy season, picking crabs, shucking oysters and working in the canneries. And while some skeptics believe the foreign workers are taking jobs from locals, the H-2B visa program actually requires employers to look for homegrown workers first.
Mikulski believes the visa program will help small and struggling businesses stay afloat, increase productivity and actually help create two American jobs for every granted visa.
The legislation is currently under consideration in the House of Representatives and it will be brought before the Senate in the coming days.