“We need to find a way to get this guy out of office before he destroys our city.”

devil
Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

Thanks to Timmy for bringing this up in the rant/revel:

“Jason Chaffetz is the devil. He legitimately hates DC and wants to ruin it. We need to find a way to get this guy out of office before he destroys our city.”

The Post reports Drain the swamp? No, let’s just move it, Rep. Chaffetz suggests.

“Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, proposed a resolution Wednesday that says Congress thinks it is unnecessary for federal agencies to be located in the District.”

66 Comment

  • While I am no fan of Chaffetz, I do think that moving some federal agencies away from the DC area offers a couple positive benefits. First, it would help DC diversify its economy, which would bolster our argument for statehood. Second, it would bring some economic vibrancy to areas of the country that have lost jobs due to manufacturing decline, etc. Government workers tend to also be democrats, so farming those votes out around the country would have a positive long term benefit in my opinion.

    • No. Government jobs are the primary jobs in DC. Take them out of DC and it will ruin the economy here.

      • I am all for working to get Chaffetz out of office because of his constant interference with DC’s self-governance. But this isn’t that. I am hard pressed to say it isn’t a valid function of a member of Congress to discuss the location of federal agencies and federal employees. We can disagree about the substance of that issue, but he’s not doing anything wrong by discussing it.

        • ah

          +1.

          that said, I can imagine what the department of agriculture would look like if it were located in a farm state – even worse than it is, because the various special interests seeking handouts would be in even closer to proximity to those doling them out.

          • I think lobbyists might actually oppose this proposal. Much more convenient for them to have Congress and agency higher-ups all in one place.

        • Hmm, wasn’t the “district of columbia” created to house the federal government? Take that away and they will give us back to Maryland.

          • Another of Chaffetz’s suggestions.

          • We can only hope. I believe we’d do fine under Annapolis’s rule. Whether Baltimore wants the competition (or western Maryland wants that many liberals) is a different question.

      • “Government jobs are the primary jobs in DC. Take them out of DC and it will ruin the economy here.”
        .
        Quite the principled opposition you have there. This is exactly the same argument raised by every town in which a military base ever once was located, and subsequently closed. “It’ll be bad for us!” isn’t really a compelling reason why the Congressman from Utah, or anyone else, should rethink this endeavor.

        • So destroying the capital of the one of the most powerful countries in the world is the same as shutting down an air force base that no longer has functionality? Not really sure it’s the exact same argument.

          • The argument was, “Government jobs are the primary jobs in DC. Take them out of DC and it will ruin the economy here.” That is the same, on a much larger scale, as, “[Military related] jobs are the primary jobs in [base town]. Take them out of [base town] and it will ruin the economy here.”
            .
            Look, I’m obviously not in favor of this. It would be catastrophic for the region. But it’s silly to pretend that our dismay is rooted in anything other than self-interest, or that anyone outside this area is going to care about the DC region’s economy – especially when they may stand to gain from any relocation.
            .
            Finally, in this day and age, with technology what it is, and communications always improving, it’s not a ridiculous position. 100 years ago, locating the Department of the Interior in Salt Lake City would have been horribly inefficient. Now? Apart from initial costs of moving it, is there really a logistical impediment?

          • I was once part of an organization that moved its HQ from NYC to a regional capital elsewhere. Many staff moved, but many did not. It set the org back a decade in terms of staffing and institutional knowledge.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Sure, it might be strategically unwise for a variety of reasons, but I agree with dcd’s main point here. This is properly a federal government issue, that would also happen to have profound implications on the city of Washington DC and it’s people. I dislike and disagree with what Chaffetz wants to do, but I’ll stipulate that it is the sort of matter that is properly within the scope of his job. That is a fundamentally different thing than his inserting himself into what should be matters of DC local government.

          • @WDC Good point. That was another item I thought of- does he really think employees want to move to some random town in Kansas? This whole think reeks of pandering for Chaffetz. The fact that he’s trying to use the District as a pawn is really upsetting to me.

          • This seems like a good idea on the surface, for government cost-saving and economic improvement in downtrodden areas, but there are two big problems with the idea:
            .
            *If we’re talking about moving large federal agencies (Agriculture is a good example…thousands of employees in DC), then we’re going to end up turning Topeka, or at least parts of it, into a mini-DC. People with better-than-average jobs for the area come swooping in, potentially flush with cash from owning expensive property in this area (this assumes that the market in DC doesn’t collapse, of course), and buy up all the best property. You think people scream about gentrification here? Imagine when developers start building McMansions on former farms around some “heartland” city. There’s a flip side to this, of course…a smaller agency moves in, and nothing changes. 200 employees don’t magically make Omaha the hottest city in the country. Now locals are mad that they didn’t get the development they were promised.
            .
            While salary and *potentially* real estate costs (while GSA does charge agencies “rent,” this is all just imaginary numbers on paper for the buildings the federal government owns outright), other costs would skyrocket. I can take a taxi out to Dulles and easily fly to far away places like Beijing, for contract prices like $1200. Total travel time, 14-17 hours. From Indianapolis? Not only are those tickets going to be more expensive (there’s no contract, but the cheapest I could find was $1800), but the “fastest” route I could find was 21 hours. Which means that a traveler is likely entitled to a rest stop somewhere along the way. And even 7 or 8,000 extra people traveling once in a while isn’t going to make the airlines add tons of extra capacity to some 5th-tier airport. You’re not longer going to be giving people $150 transit benefits or $25 biking benefits, everyone is going to take the max parking benefit. And the more sedentary lifestyles of not just feds moving to less-active cities, but those non-feds around them, likely mean higher insurance costs (Utah’s heathcare marketplace premiums are 33-45% higher than DC’s).
            .
            We decided long ago that large cities make sense for economic activity. Hate it if you want, but government is a form of economic activity.

      • There is a great deal of value of having the bureaucracy headquartered in geographical proximity to the power of the federal government. What sense would it make to scatter POTUS’ cabinet around the country, or to separate Department heads from their workforce, if the cabinet Secretaries remained in DC? And given Congress’ role in authorization and appropriating, what sense would it make to have the heads of those agencies not in a position to literally go to the hill within an hour of requested? This would hurt both the executive and legislative branches. I think the impact to DC’s economy is secondary to the argument that it would dramatically decrease efficiency.

        • I really don’t see the dramatic decrease in efficiency. With videoconferences, email and air travel, it’s easily manageable. And the legislative liaison office of each agency would remain in DC, obviously, to get that in-person Hill time. WDC’s point re losing long-term employees is well taken, but I’m not sure the people voting on this are going to be dissuaded by “we’ll lose career bureaucrats if we do this” argument. Drain the swamp, you know.

          • Re. “air travel” — As a non-fed, you might not be aware that travel budgets for many federal agencies have decreased, thanks in large part to the scandal with GSA’s western region having that super-expensive conference in Las Vegas.
            .
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clampdown-after-gsa-scandal-puts-some-federal-workers-in-a-pinch/2015/02/08/d8217240-a5a4-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html

          • But there is absolutely no replacing face time. Agency staff meet with Congress constantly; it’s not just testimony, but also meetings, programs, receptions, etc. I think the people voting on this see the value in having quick and easy access and plenty of unofficial face time, coming from someone who works for those people.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Air travel budgets could easily be increased, so I don’t see the relevance. Overall, costs would probably go down if you move parts of government to cheaper areas (save money in rent, etc.). With regard to face time, you can leave small parts of agencies in the area for that sort of thing. The average Fed is not on the hill with any regularity (if at all). This is no different than major corporations being located elsewhere but having a legislative affairs office in DC. I think having satellite offices would give feds more flexibility in where they want to live. I would love to keep my job and move to say, Colorado or Oregon or wherever.

          • “Air travel budgets could easily be increased, so I don’t see the relevance.” Sure, they COULD be increased, but the whole reason they were reduced was to avoid the perception of waste and the wrath of taxpayers. And I bet taxpayers would just loooove having to foot the cost of new buildings and/or seeing current government buildings sold WITHOUT providing maximum value to the government (and thus to the taxpayer).
            .
            Even major corporations that are headquartered elsewhere but have a legislative affairs office in D.C. presumably have their headquarters all in one place — not have part of their headquarters in x city and part in y city.
            .
            It’s just not efficient to have “headquarters” dispersed all over the place. That’s what regional offices are for, and it’s the reason why 85% of federal employees are already located outside the D.C. metro area.

        • +1 to kanon.
          .
          Having worked in a federal agency that was headquartered in the suburbs, but with the agency’s senior leadership in the District, I can attest that even over that short of a distance there can be a disconnect.
          .
          And it’s not just agency heads who have to go to the Hill — often SES (Senior Executive Service) people a couple of ranks down testify before Congress.

          • And it’s not just testifying; there are countless meetings and programs, etc, and it goes well beyond senior staff and SES employees. While many tea party types may be in full support of this idea on its face; very few on the hill would support it.

    • He wants to move ALL of them. I really don’t think moving these individual departments to different parts of the country is really much of a stimulus either. This would destroy DC not force us to diversify our economy. Did Detroit diversify when the auto industry left?

    • As Eleanor Holmes Norton pointed out to Chaffetz, 85% of federal jobs are outside the D.C. metro area.
      .
      She also said:
      .
      “I’m sorry, everybody, the framers decided — just like every other part of the world — there would be a capital and in the capital would be located the major agencies that run your government. This resolution is unwarranted, and frankly it’s gratuitous and punitive.”

    • 70% of federal jobs are NOT in the DC area. By moving agencies, Chafettz will just increase costs, inefficiencies, and duplicate efforts. Chaffetz just wants to bring “the swamp” dollars back to his home state. It’s dumb.

  • houseintherear

    If they move, can we get representation and budget autonomy?

  • There is a new PAC called Americans for Self-Rule (http://www.americansforselfrule.org/) that is targeting meddling lawmakers by funding their opponents (among other things). I happily chipped in some lunch money for that cause!

    • Definitely — the only way we solve this, short of statehood, is to make it clear that we will defend our interests and take out our anger on anyone overstepping their oversight bounds.

    • It’s not misguided. It’s intentional. You could read these facts to his face and he’d tell you you were wrong. He has a vendetta against this city for some reason and is intent on destroying it.

      • I think he is using the District as a pawn to try to make himself look good.

        • Precisely. Which is why it’s becoming even more laughable that DC has no congressional representation. It’s mind-blowing at this point.

        • +1. And he’s using the district because it is maybe the one item within his committee’s jurisdiction that doesn’t involve holding POTUS accountable for anything.

    • What chunk of that 85% is in neighboring MD and VA counties? Honestly, I’m more frustrated that Chaffetz seems to interchangeably refer to DC/the District of Columbia and also sometimes imply he’s referring to the metro area as a whole. There’s a big difference.

      • The 85% figure is for jobs outside _the D.C. metro area_, not just jobs outside the District.
        .
        (Though I’m not clear what exactly the definition of “D.C. metro area” is in this case — like, whether it includes Baltimore.)

      • I did some digging to try to figure out where the 85% figure was coming from.
        .
        Although I don’t see it spotlighted in OPM’s 2015 profile of government employees (https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/common-characteristics-of-the-government/ccog2015.pdf ), it looks like the 85% figure represents all federal employees not in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria CBSA (Core Based Statistical Area).
        .
        There are 273,195 employees in the D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria CBSA, and 1,838,352 federal employees total.
        .
        If you add in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson CBSA (42,150 employees), there are 315,345 federal employees in the D.C.-Baltimore area — 17% of the total. So the rest of the country is 83%.

        • That’s helpful, but still doesn’t resolve that Chaffetz is really imprecise when he talks about this issue. I’m honestly indifferent if a federal office setting up shop in Loudoun County or Howard County decides to move to a close-in suburb (or city proper) of Detroit. That is probably a better use of our land/infrastructure as a country. As it stands, we have way too many sprawling office parks being created by the federal government, even as they’re going out of style commercially.

          • _You_ might be indifferent if a federal office were to move from Loudoun County to Detroit, but lots of other people aren’t. It’s just more efficient to have executive-branch agencies and the legislative branch in (roughly) the same place; pretty much every other country (except South Africa) has a similar arrangement.
            .
            Can you point to examples of “sprawling office parks being created by the federal government”?

          • Consider the case of the FBI, which is poised to move out of their downtown headquarters and into one of three locations, at least two of which won’t really be transit-oriented. As it stands, they’ve been leasing/building offices all over the broader metro area, as far west as West Virginia (https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis), and Frederick County, VA (https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/site-selected-for-fbi-central-records-complex-in-frederick-county-virginia). These aren’t remote offices unrelated to DC-area operations; they’re a direct result of shifting operations in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in the first place, which resulted in a workforce for whom West Virginia and Frederick Counties represented a better commute. This pattern will likely continue without actively combating it.
            .
            This is, of course, assuming that one believes sprawl is bad.

          • @textdoc:
            .
            When the Federal Republic of Germany moved its capital (including the legislature) clear across the country from Bonn to Berlin in the late 1990s, a number of its federal agencies remained behind. By law, Merkel still has a secondary office in Bonn, and just under half of the federal ministers have their primary office there. Oh, and the federal constitutional court is in yet a third city, Karlsruhe, nowhere close to either of the other two.

      • Incidentally, even if you were to count the District of Columbia (132,982 federal employees) and the entire states of Virginia (143,456 federal employees) and Maryland (119,595 federal employees) as “the D.C. metro area,” the rest of the country still has 79% of the federal jobs.
        .
        California has more federal jobs than any other state, and Texas has almost as many as the District does.

  • This dude is a complete clown who just wants to get his name out there whenever he possibly can. I don’t think there is any politician I despise more than Chaffetz. Bro, you are from UTAH- please spare us what you think is good for DC. Let’s not forget about the Iowa politician who PUBLICLY proclaimed that he wished a recession upon DC- forget his name. That being said, I really don’t think anything significant will come of this.

  • And yet Chaffetz says (in regard to his constituents,) “It’s very hard for them to understand why some desk jockey in D.C. gets to make decisions about what’s going on in their own back yard,” he said.”

    Well frankly I’m wondering why some desk jockey from Utah is trying so hard to make decisions about what’s going on in DC when he doesn’t represent us at all?!!

  • can they move my agency to denver? that’d be dope.

  • If he’s going to keep meddling, can we vote in HIS district?

  • So this puts Chaffetz on the same page as Vox’s Matt Yglesias (just google “Let’s relocate a bunch of government agencies to the Midwest”).

  • If Kathie Allen supports statehood I will definitely donate to her campaign. Unsure for now.

  • Think about this: they are talking about dissolving the locus of power that is the United States federal government. Which only make federal decision making fragmented, encumbered, and will require wasting our precious resources on duplicative administrative efforts.
    .
    America’s enemies are licking its lips right now as a domestic political party pushes to make America power weaker. Interesting.

  • moving government agencies all over the country is stupid. having them all concentrated here makes a lot of sense. resource constraints for federal budgets will always be a reality. making them physically located in far flung corners will only make the government less efficient.

    FDA and CMS freak out over travel costs when they have to come to DC from Rockville and Baltimore.

    Savings from lower rent and salaries will be used once to offset something else and then never actually recoverable for increased travel/technology budgets.

    If, some of the savings is returned to the agencies – it will be zero’d out in the near future when Congressman X on the appropriations committee freaks the fuck out over the travel spend of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

  • moving government agencies all over the country is stupid. having them all concentrated here makes a lot of sense. resource constraints for federal budgets will always be a reality. making them physically located in far flung corners will only make the government less efficient.
    FDA and CMS freak out over travel costs when they have to come to DC from Rockville and Baltimore.
    Savings from lower rent and salaries will be used once to offset something else and then never actually recoverable for increased travel/technology budgets.
    If, some of the savings is returned to the agencies – it will be zero’d out in the near future when Congressman X on the appropriations committee has a fit over the travel spend of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

  • It would be very bad for the region and the nation. Sure, we would save a few billion on the ancillary costs of running the state, it would be very costly in terms of people, efficiencies, and institutional knowledge. I can see this get some traction with Trump’s cabal due to their desire to dismantle most agencies anyway. However, at the end of the day this has as much of a chance as full statehood.

  • While some of you are worrying about what Chaffetz is suggesting, you are not paying attention to what the DC Council is doing to destroy our city as we know it.

    • What in particular did you have in mind?

      • Well, go speak with at least 3 or 4 small business owners in DC and poll them on their thoughts on oversight and regulation. D.C. doesn’t want to help them be compliant with all the crazy old/new regulations, they want to punish them and destroy them.
        Get ready for big business to fill the void because they can absorb the costs to do business in the new D.C.
        But, whatever, do your own research and let me know how wrong I am.

    • I love when someone jumps in to a conversation and says while you are worried about x you should be worried about y. People are able to worry about many things at the same time. This is not that conversation. So feel free to start that conversation elsewhere. No one is saying you are wrong. In fact no one is saying anything about your topic here.

  • Meet The New D.C. PAC Trying To Take Down Jason Chaffetz

    I read about this last weekend. It makes sense to me that we have a PAC as a district, that spends money on causes and elections that impact our district since we cannot rely on true representation in the legislative process.