For the project of making the GOP a party of broad-based opportunity, expanding guest-worker visas seems like a counterproductive effort. Guest-worker programs make a mockery of the market and of civic belonging. In an age of stagnating wages for many working-class Americans, increasing the number of guest workers is a confusing strategy. Moreover, guest-worker expansion risks splitting the GOP by further aggravating populists, who already have complaints about other elements of the omnibus.
Unlike other elements of the omnibus bill, however, Democrats were not going to shut down the government to expand the H-2B program. In fact, the top Republican and top Democrat in the Senate Judiciary Committee (Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, respectively) both slammed the inclusion of the H-2B expansion in the omnibus.