Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have proposed new legislation to move 90 percent of federal agency jobs out of Washington, D.C. The “HIRE” bill aims to move jobs into the heartland and economically-distressed regions throughout the country.
Just one day prior to the bill’s release, Hawley received backlash from mainstream media outlets for defending the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to move two sub-agencies to Kansas City, Missouri. Hawley was berated from insults ranging from “phony” to anti-Semitic.
The Washington Post penned an article titled, “The White House didn’t like my agency’s research. So it sent us to Missouri.” Hawley tweeted disdain for the article, which described moving to Missouri as a “punishment.” Now, Hawley wants to “punish” more federal agencies by proposing the HIRE bill.
The legislation aims to move the following agencies to the following states:
- Department of Agriculture – Missouri
- Department of Education – Tennessee
- Department of Commerce – Pennsylvania
- Department of Energy – Kentucky
- Health and Human Services – Indiana
- Housing and Urban Development – Ohio
- Department of the Interior – New Mexico
- Department of Labor – West Virginia
- Department of Transportation – Michigan
- Veterans Affairs – South Carolina
“Moving agencies outside of Washington, D.C. both boosts local economies and lowers costs — that’s a winning combination. This legislation would enable Americans across the country to have greater access to good jobs,” said Blackburn.
The goal to save money long-term and increase the longevity of federal employees go hand-in-hand. The HIRE bill claims that when cost of living is low and federal salaries are high relative to the region, employees will stay longer, but to achieve that goal, agencies must leave the high-priced Washington, D.C. area.
Hawley also wants to create better access for non-coastal Americans to high-paying federal jobs through the HIRE bill. He says moving agencies to “economically distressed” areas would benefit Americans at-large as they have more opportunities to enter high-paying jobs in more than one location.
Research shows that federal employees earn 17 percent more than their private-sector counterparts on average, plus much better job protections such that it’s almost impossible to fire a federal employee. These senators’ solution might be to spread overpaid, underaccountable employees around the country, but a better one for taxpayers would be to stop overpaying federal workers and make them accountable for their work just like everyone else.