One-third of the jobs at two USDA research agencies are still vacant 18 months after their abrupt Trump-era relocation to Kansas City, said the chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the USDA budget on Wednesday.
Despite complaints the Trump administration needlessly uprooted them, two USDA research agencies will stay in Kansas City rather than return to the D.C. area, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. “What we’re trying to do is limit the level of disruption” and rebuild a workforce …
When Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Kansas City as the new home for two USDA research agencies, officials laid out an aggressive schedule to have everyone in place by today, the final day of fiscal 2019. The USDA has hired only a comparative handful of workers to stanch staff turnover that could exceed 75 percent and the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee says the disruption is affecting farm bill implementation.
The USDA failed to obtain congressional approval before relocating two research agencies to Kansas City this summer, said an inspector general's report on Monday. "The budgetary provisions...requiring committee approval are unconstitutional," responded USDA's lawyers in rejecting the standard Capitol Hill requirement for agencies to notify Congress and receive permission to reprogram expenditures.
The government has extended the deadline for bids from Kansas City real estate companies looking to house two USDA scientific agencies, while the current landlord for one of those agencies contests the relocation, reported Politico.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue fired the starting gun for a sprint to move two USDA science agencies to Kansas City before opponents in Congress can stop him. In seven weeks, or possibly sooner, the first of the relocated employees are to report to work in their new offices, according to a USDA timeline, with the remaining 447 of them to be in place by Sept. 30.
Hoping to dissuade Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, farm-state Democrats in Congress asked for a cost-benefit analysis that would justify moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington. Two senior Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee ridiculed the opposition to the relocation as elitism and knee-jerk obstructionism of President Trump.
In its passage of the $153 billion USDA-FDA funding bill for fiscal 2020, the House Appropriations Committee included amendments that would delay implementation of a controversial Department of Agriculture hog slaughter rule and block the relocation of ERS and NIFA outside of D.C. The inclusion …