(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the relocation of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to the Kansas City Region:

“I was extremely disheartened by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the ERS and NIFA facilities, along with most of their employees, will soon be relocated from Washington, D.C. to the Kansas City region. We should not so cavalierly displace hardworking federal employees who make up the ERS and NIFA workforce, including some of my constituents who would be forced to relocate their families simply in order to keep their jobs.

“Earlier this month, I worked with my National Capitol Region colleagues to secure language in the Fiscal Year 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill (H.R. 3055) to prohibit USDA from using any funds to implement the threatened relocation. I’ll continue to fight for this bill when it comes to the House Floor for a vote next week.

“When this relocation search commenced nearly a year ago, I urged USDA at least to keep the existing research facilities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. I penned two letters urging Secretary Perdue to move both ERS and NIFA to sites in Montgomery or Frederick Counties within Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

“Our District is at least adjacent to D.C., so researchers could continue to work closely with their fellow USDA employees, federal agencies, and congressional staff. As it stands, scientists and agency employees are reportedly worried that relocating outside of the region would allow their research to be politicized, create a ‘brain drain’ of agency talent, and compromise the movement of research funds.”

“Like our scientists, academic researchers, and hardworking federal employees, I am profoundly concerned about the baffling decision to relocate these two vital research agencies and will continue doing everything within my power to reverse this decision.”