WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Two U.S. senators want to move most federal agencies out of Washington and into states that need the jobs and money. They say their proposal will boost local economies and lower costs.
But a group that represents federal workers calls it a “solution in search of a problem.”
The U.S. Department of Education sits in the heart of the nation’s capitol. But if a Tennessee senator has her way, the headquarters would move to the Volunteer State.
“One of the big complaints that we receive from our state and local officials is how difficult it is to work with federal agencies,” said U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).
Sen. Marsha Blackburn introduced a bill that would relocate most federal agencies out of Washington D.C. and into states she says will welcome the economic boost.
“Breaking these agencies up and getting them closer to the people that they are actual accountable to and that they serve would be a very positive step.”
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley thinks so, too. He’s co-sponsoring the bill.
Hawley was a strong supporter of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to move two parts of that agency to the Show Me state.
If passed, their legislation would move the entire department there.
“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,” Hawley said in a statement.
Hawley and Blackburn argue their proposal would create thousands of jobs in those states and save taxpayers billions of dollars. But current federal employees want to know…what about their jobs?
“There will be a way and an opportunity just as with when companies relocate,” said Blackburn
However, the American Federation of Government Employees calls the move “neither cost-effective nor practical”, arguing the agencies should stay in D.C. close to the entity that holds them accountable, Congress.
“Eighty-five percent of federal employees already live outside the nation’s capital – caring for veterans, supporting our military, processing Social Security and other federal benefits, and carrying out other vital work serving citizens across the country,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. in a statement. “This proposed legislation is a solution in search of a problem. Taxpayers would be better served by Congress ensuring federal agencies have the staffing and resources needed to carry out their vital missions.”
Along with the relocation of two USDA agencies to Missouri, the Bureau of Land Management recently announced plans to move to Colorado.
Under the legislation, the following federal agencies would also relocate:
Interior: New Mexico
Labor: West Virginia
V.A.: South Carolina