Two amendments to the Grand Bargain were introduced in the Senate today. Both are democratic amendments and both take aim at the Guest Worker Program (Y Visa). The first would remove the Guest Worker provisions from the bill completely and the second would cut the number in half. Republicans generally favor the Guest Worker provisions as they provide a pool of cheap foreign workers to US corporations. Democrats in large oppose the Guest Worker provisions on the grounds that they take jobs from American workers, lower Americans’ wages, and are unfair to the foreign workers who must leave the US upon the expiration of the visas.
The amendment to eliminate the Y visa was defeated by a vote of 31-64. However, other amendments seeking to curtail the program are likely to follow, beginning with a possible amendment from Senator Bingaman (D-NM) as early as tomorrow morning, cutting the number of Y visas from 400,000 down to 200,000 annually.