In 2011 Sen. Chambliss, R-Ga., introduced four bills, three for public laws and one for a rare, private law.
The three public bills would modify statutes dealing with terrorist detainees, the national tax system, and the visa program for agricultural guest workers. A separate article describes the private bill which names a man and would grant him “lawful permanent resident” status.
Guest Workers: Chambliss introduced (sponsored) S.1384, the HARVEST Act of 2011, which would alter the H-2A visa program that provides for legal entry of temporary agricultural workers. The Congressional Research Service states the bill would require “H-2A employers to participate in the E-Verify program” to confirm employees’ immigration status. Among other changes, the bill would shift the federal administration of H-2A wages and working conditions from the Department of Labor to the Department of Agriculture.
Farmworker Justice posted a three-page critique of the bill which states, “The HARVEST Act would lead to massive job loss for US workers as the sharp cuts in wage rates and worker protection in this bill would serve to incentivize employers to hire guestworkers instead.” The article stated the $9.12/hour average hourly wage rate for H-2A field and livestock workers in Georgia “…would decrease by around $1.00 per hour under Chambliss’ Bill.” The bill would also extend the visa program to cover year-round, non-seasonal agricultural workers (meat processors, etc.) according to the critique. Introduced in July with no co-sponsors, the bill remained in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary at the year’s end.
Detainee Interrogation: The Effective Interrogation of Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents Act (S.548) would amend The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005*. The term “unprivileged enemy belligerents” used in this bill is similar to “unlawful enemy combatants”.
The bill calls for the secretary of defense, director of national intelligence, and the attorney general to prepare a joint report to Congress, describing procedures for interrogating unprivileged enemy belligerents. Interrogations would be conducted by representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, and other appropriate elements of the Defense Department and intelligence community.
Four senators co-sponsored the bill’s introduction in March 2011. It was assigned to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where it remains. Chambliss is the committee’s ranking minority member.
Fair Tax Act: In January, Chambliss sponsored the so-called Fair Tax proposal popular with fiscal conservatives. Reintroduced as S.13, the Fair Tax Act of 2011, the bill proposes to repeal income and other federal taxes, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, and would substitute a national sales tax to be administered by the states.
Eight senators co-sponsored the bill, which was assigned to the Senate committee on Finance where it remains. Chambliss first sponsored the FairTax Act in 2003 during the 108th Congress. He has introduced the bill in the senate for every congressional term since.
Other Bills: Chambliss also sponsored three amendments to revise bills previously introduced by other senators in 2011. In addition, he co-sponsored 171 Senate bills and co-sponsored 16 amendments to bills. Another article by this writer titled Public Interest, Private Bill addresses S.335, A Bill for the Relief of Salah Naji Sujaa.
* The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 is incorporated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, as Sections 1401-1406.
Sen. Chambliss’ Washington, D.C., office may be telephoned at 202-224-3521. E-mail Chambliss here.
Roger Carter covers Sen. Chambliss for Tea Party Patriots’ Government Accountability Project. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.