(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) in introducing legislation to prohibit the relocation of any federal department or agency headquarters outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) without congressional approval. This legislation would block the Trump Administration's attempted relocation of hundreds of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees from the Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado. The decision was announced by the acting director of BLM, William Perry Pendley, who has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
“Federal workers provide the nation and the federal government with nonpartisan analysis and expertise that Congress and the President rely on to serve the American people,” Norton said. “The fact is that in 2017, 79 percent of federal civilian employees were not only based outside of the nation’s capital, but beyond D.C., Maryland and Virginia. In some instances, like the BLM, nearly ninety-five percent of staff are already employed outside the NCR. Staff who remain in headquarters serve the vital role of keeping Congress and the President informed of their activities."
"Like our hardworking federal employees and my fellow NCR colleagues, I am profoundly concerned about the baffling proposal to relocate the vital department staff who remain in Washington and will continue doing everything within my power to block this move," said Rep. Raskin.
The Trump Administration has also begun to relocate several hundred employees from two D.C.-based Department of Agriculture agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), without budgetary approval by Congress. Rep. Raskin has vocally opposed the relocation of ERS and NIFA as well, saying that the “we should not so cavalierly displace hardworking federal employees.” Raskin joined his colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting transparency into the Department’s failure to respond to extension requests from employees facing relocation, as well as a letter with the entire National Capital Region Congressional Delegation urging Secretary Perdue to reverse the decision to move the agency. Raskin also led a letter to Secretary Perdue to call out USDA's sudden and arbitrary decision to reduce buyouts for affected employees.