In a Tuesday morning interview with radio host Bill Bennett, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended his omnibus bill’s controversial expansion in the H-2B visa program, which would allow foreign workers to fill blue-collar American jobs, by arguing that if the provision were not included, American companies would be forced to shut their doors.
Bennett pressed Ryan on the details of the H-2B visa expansion, slipped 700-pages into Ryan’s 2,009-page omnibus spending bill—asking Ryan directly, “Do you believe there are not enough Americans to fill these jobs?”
In response, Ryan described the H-2B visa expansion as “a very small, discrete provision.”
Despite the nation’s high levels of unemployment and stagnating wages, Ryan continued on to assert, without offering evidence in support of his claim, that corporations are facing a shortage of labor, which rendered the provision necessary. Ryan said:
The reason that this was passed is because there was some seasonal surge jobs that they can’t find local workers to fill, like the seafood packaging industry in Chesapeake Bay. You have seafood season, you need people to package those things, to can them. In the North, we have the summer tourism industry. What it is is there’s seasonal industries where they can’t find local people to do the jobs: kids are already in college or things like that where you have a surge in workers.
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