Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH-13) blasted the Trump administration last week for its proposal to move two divisions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Kansas City, Missouri.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Trump officials want the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to be closer to prominent farming areas.
The announcement caused an uproar and in one case Perdue’s own employees turned their backs to him during a press conference.
Further scrutiny was piled on the decision this week after a report from the USDA Office of the Inspector General suggested that the Trump administration couldn’t pay to move the offices without prior budgetary approval from Congress.
She also pointed to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s recent comments that the location change was a “wonderful way” to shrink the federal government.
“We are alarmed that USDA continues to proceed with this move without consulting Congress or—according to the OIG—following the necessary legal requirements,” Fudge said. “Couple that with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s comments over the weekend on relocations as a mechanism for staff reduction, and this whole exercise is a naked and shameless attempt to force dedicated civil servants out of their jobs.”
In a recent commentary, Joshua Sharf of the Independence Institute and vice chairman of the Denver Republican Party noted that workers at the agency have had a year to make a decision on whether they would find new employment or move to Kansas City.
“You would think Perdue is exiling these people to a remote outpost in Greenland. It may come as a surprise for these protesters to discover that, according to the latest U.S. Census figures, literally millions of people voluntarily live in the Kansas City metropolitan area,” he wrote.
“In fact, the proposed relocation of federal agencies to the Western and Midwestern United States is one of the most innovative things to come out of the Trump administration,” he continued. “They hope that bureaucracies, if they must exist, will do a better job if they are located among the people they regulate, rather than within the Beltway bubble.”
Elected officials in Missouri are excited by the relocation and recently released a statement to that effect.
“This is outstanding news for the Kansas City region,” the statement said. “We’re home to some of the hardest working farmers in the country, so this is a fantastic decision by the USDA. As the new home of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Missouri and Kansas will continue to lead in the research and development of American agricultural policy for the 21st century. We are grateful for the job opportunities and renewed partnership this move creates for our state.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “USDA Offices” by Diego Delso. CC BY-SA 3.0.