H.R. 1773, Agricultural Guestworker Act

Cost Estimate
July 25, 2014

As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on June 19, 2013

H.R. 1773 would amend immigration laws to increase the number of noncitizens who could receive nonimmigrant (temporary) visas for work in agriculture. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1773 would increase the U.S. population by about 160,000 people in 2017, when the Department of Agriculture would begin issuing the new type of visa that would be created under the law, and about 400,000 people in 2024.

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 1773 would increase direct spending—because of the increased number of people in the United States—by about $2.1 billion over the 2015-2024 period. Additionally, CBO and JCT estimate that enacting H.R. 1773 would increase revenues by about $1.8 billion over the 2015-2024 period.

On balance, therefore, CBO and JCT estimate that the effects of H.R. 1773 on direct spending and revenues would increase deficits by about $0.3 billion over the 2015-2024 period. However, the bill would reduce on-budget deficits by $1.9 billion over the same period, while increasing off-budget deficits by $2.2 billion over that period. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply to the legislation because it would affect on-budget direct spending and revenues.

Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO also expects that implementing the bill would have a discretionary cost of about $1.7 billion over the 2015-2024 period.

H.R. 1773 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). H.R. 1773 would impose private-sector mandates, as defined in UMRA, by requiring employers to deposit a portion of the wages of foreign agricultural workers into a federal trust fund. CBO estimates that the total costs for employers to comply with the mandates in the bill would fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($152 million in 2014, adjusted annually for inflation).