Pingree Statement on Trump Administration's Relocation of USDA Research Staff to Kansas City
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) released the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s plan to relocate hundreds of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) staff to the Kansas City area:
“I am appalled with the Trump administration’s decision to force hundreds of Washington-based USDA research staffers to uproot their lives to Kansas City in order to keep their livelihoods. The fact that NIFA and ERS staff both overwhelming voted to form a union demonstrates that they felt powerless to change the Trump administration’s politically-motivated decision.
“Many of these staffers believe their relocation is an effort to silence their research into topics that do not align with the Trump administration’s political agenda, including the study of climate change and benefits of low-income food assistance. From the beginning, the decision to relocate NIFA and ERS was disrespectful to these career public workers and it has not been fully vetted. The OIG examining the viability of this relocation is not complete and Congress has not received the cost benefit analysis we asked for in the FY19 omnibus. Any action affecting this many lives should not be undertaken without the data to support its need.”
Pingree is the sponsor of the Agriculture Research Integrity Act of 2019, which would ensure USDA research agencies, including the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), stay in the national Capital region. H.R. 1221 would prevent Secretary Perdue’s proposed move of critical USDA research staff and prevent subject-matter experts from uprooting their lives or leaving their areas of expertise.