Researchers to Quit USDA Rather Than Leave Washington Metro Area

July 17, 2019
In The News

As the Trump administration prepares to move two Agriculture Department research agencies out of the nation’s capital, many of the agencies’ employees appear ready to quit their jobs rather than leave their homes. Democratic lawmakers in Maryland are scrambling to put the brakes on the administration’s plans in an effort to keep their constituents’ jobs nearby, but their attempts so far haven’t worked. The Trump administration announced plans last month to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington, D.C., to a new office in the Kansas City area. The administration is pushing a tight timeline to try to relocate both agencies by the end of September. Agricultural researchers and economists faced the first deadline this week to tell the agency if they would uproot their lives and move to Kansas City or leave their jobs. The majority of the workforce has not accepted the transfer to Kansas City…. 19 House and Senate Democrats asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week to at least slow down the process to address the concerns of staff members who are fleeing the agencies. “We remain concerned that this restructuring will gut the ability of these agencies to successfully carry out their important missions,” the lawmakers wrote in a July 16 letter to Perdue. “We also remain concerned that the quality of work at ERS and NIFA has already been undermined and will continue to degrade.” The letter was signed by Maryland Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, as well as Democratic Reps. John P. Sarbanes, Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin and David J. Trone.