Senators Want to Move Most Federal Agencies Out of DC

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By on October 23, 2019 in Agency News with 0 Comments
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) think it’s time to get the bulk of federal agencies out of the Washington, DC area. They have introduced legislation that would move most agencies from the DC metro area to economically distressed regions in other states.

Speaking about the legislation, Hawley said, “Every year Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble. That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America. The HIRE Act will move policymakers directly into the communities they serve, creating thousands of jobs for local communities and saving taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.”

The Helping Infrastructure Restore the Economy (HIRE) Act (S. 2672) would move 90% of the positions in 10 executive departments to the following states:

DepartmentState
Department of AgricultureMissouri
Department of CommercePennsylvania
Department of EducationTennessee
Department of EnergyKentucky
Health and Human ServicesIndiana
Housing and Urban DevelopmentOhio
Department of InteriorNew Mexico
Department of LaborWest Virginia
Department of TransportationMichigan
Veterans AffairsSouth Carolina

The legislation also requires the federal government to move most non-department agencies to economically distressed regions that have a geographic nexus to the agency.

It was announced recently that the Bureau of Land Management was moving to Colorado and the Department of Agriculture was moving two of its agencies to Missouri. The Senators intend to continue this trend with their bill.

The Senators say the legislation would save taxpayers money in the long run by reducing costs, noting that lease costs are typically far less outside of Washington, DC. They pointed to a report from USDA which found that the move of its two agencies will save $300 million over 15 years.

They also said it would create more access to jobs with the federal government and therefore help benefit the economically distressed areas targeted with the relocations. “The benefits of Federal employment should be shared widely and should not be concentrated in the Washington metropolitan area,” reads a statement from the legislative text of the bill.

Is it time to get federal agency headquarters out of the Washington, DC area? Feel free to weigh in on the subject in the comments below.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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