Section 543 of the FY 2017 spending bill, signed into law on May 5, 2017, authorizes DHS to add more H-2B visas to the quota.
On May 12, 2017, a bipartisan, bicameral group of 87 Members of Congress urged Kelly to do so, and quickly, with this letter.
In Senate testimony on May 25, 2017, Kelly told Sen. Murkowski that he will "likely increase the numbers for this year."
On June 7, 2017, however, Kelly backtracked, as reported by Richard Saltzberg in the MV Times, telling Rep. William Keating that, “What I took from that was the sense of the Congress was not to expand it,” Mr. Kelly said, according to a transcript provided by Rep. Keating’s office, “because if it was that important, the Congress would have authorized 129,000.” Mr. Kelly went on to say that “a very large number” of congressional members are against an increase because it will threaten American jobs. ... After the hearing, Rep. Keating lamented Secretary Kelly’s viewpoint on the matter: “It is concerning that Secretary Kelly and the department could interpret it to mean that Congress did not want to increase the number of H-2B workers, when the provision specifically gave him the authority to do just that,” Mr. Keating said. “This is not a trivial issue, this is a matter of many seasonal, small businesses being able to open in time for their high season. The revenues made now are what keep these businesses afloat.” "