Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would move most federal agencies out of Washington, D.C. and into a variety of regions throughout the United States that have been deemed economically distressed.
“Every year, Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble,” Hawley wrote in a statement. “That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: They’re too removed from the rest of America.”
The Helping Infrastructure Restore the Economy (HIRE) Act would require that ten executive agencies relocate their headquarters to predetermined areas that are not only financially struggling, but also have a geographic nexus to the assigned agency.
The legislation would generate an influx of permanent, well-paying jobs that would subsequently boost local economies, as well as cut costs for the American taxpayer by reducing the number of federal workers located in an area with a high cost of living.
“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,” Hawley added.
The proposed agency relocations include moving the Department of Agriculture to Missouri, the Department of Commerce to Pennsylvania, the Department of Education to Tennessee, the Department of Energy to Kentucky, the Department of Health and Human Services to Indiana, the Department of Housing and Urban Development to Ohio, the Department of the Interior to New Mexico, the Department of Labor to West Virginia, the Department of Transportation to Michigan, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to South Carolina.
“Moving agencies outside of Washington, D.C. both boosts local economies and lowers costs — that’s a winning combination,” Blackburn said. “This legislation would enable Americans across the country to have greater access to good jobs.”
“Tennesseans would greatly benefit from having portions of the Department of Education in the Volunteer State,” she continued. “It is my hope that the HIRE Act will quickly pass the Senate.”
Hawley introduced the legislation only a day after he defended the White House’s decision to move part of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Missouri. The freshman senator got into a heated back-and forth-with a former USDA researcher who authored an article in The Washington Post entitled: “The White House didn’t like my agency’s research. So it sent us to Missouri.”
“I assume this is a parody, right? D.C. bureaucrats aren’t actually saying out loud that moving to Missouri is … punishment, are they?” Hawley said in response to the op-ed. “Because surely nobody could be that condescending [and] elitist.”
“What’s really ‘condescending’ here is the sort of smarmy, smirking contempt for people’s intelligence that [Hawley] is displaying,” replied Greg Sargent, an opinion writer for the Post. “Coming from a leading intellectual light of the new ‘conservative nationalism,’ this unmasks the phony pastoral posturing that lies at its core.”
After Hawley fired back that Sargent was a “smug, rich liberal elitist” that shows “utter, open contempt for the people of the heartland,” CNN’s Jake Tapper implied that the Missouri lawmaker’s attack was anti-Semitic.
“For defending my homestate of Missouri, liberal media have called me ‘phony,’ ‘ugly,’ ‘smarmy,’ a racist and now an anti-Semite. All in 24 [hours],” Hawley responded to the backlash. “This is how they bully those who aren’t part of the DC club. But I don’t care what slurs they use, I will ALWAYS defend Missouri.”
For defending my homestate of Missouri, liberal media have called me “phony,” “ugly,” “smarmy,” a racist and now an anti-Semite. All in 24 hrs. This is how they bully those who aren’t part of the DC club. But I don’t care what slurs they use, I will ALWAYS defend Missouri https://t.co/pfUGKEbcv5
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 22, 2019
“Just another day in the swamp,” he added.