Reps. Chellie Pingree and Sanford Bishop last week reintroduced the Agriculture Research Integrity Act of 2019, which would oppose the relocation of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture outside the nation’s capital.
What’s this about relocating ERS and NIFA?
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last year proposed moving the two agencies outside Washington, D.C. The proposal hasn’t been without criticism with 56 former USDA and federal statistical agency officials calling for Perdue to abandon plans to relocate the ERS and NIFA. In January, the House unveiled a conference report that directs USDA to “delay indefinitely” the proposal to reorganize ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist and to provide a “detailed analysis” and cost estimates of the proposed move of both ERS and NIFA.
Were there any applicants to house the agencies?
More than a hundred organizations, coalitions and universities from 35 states submitted proposals to be the new home of the USDA Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
What happened this month?
House and Senate appropriators agreed on language restricting the move in the final conference report released for the fiscal year 2019 agriculture appropriations bill.
Who introduced the legislation opposing the move?
Pingree, D-Maine, and Bishop, D-Georgia, were joined by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Mark Pocan, D-Wis, Betty McCollum, D-Minn., Barabara Lee, D-Calif., and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland; as well as Reps. Elanor Holmes-Norton, D-DC, Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., Ann Kuster, D-N.H., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Salud Carbajal, D-Calif.
What’s the outlook on relocation?
Perdue appears intent on proceeding with the relocation. To date, USDA has denied all requests for a formal public comment period, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. An Inspector General report has been initiated to review the proposal and is expected within the coming weeks.