Senators Hawley and Blackburn Introduce Legislation to Move Most Federal Agencies Out of D.C.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Today U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Helping Infrastructure Restore the Economy (HIRE) Act, which moves most federal agencies out of Washington, D.C., and into the heart of economically-distressed regions across the country.

Senator Hawley, an outspoken supporter of the USDA’s decision to move two sub-agencies to the Kansas City region, said, “Every year Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble. That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America. The HIRE Act will move policymakers directly into the communities they serve, creating thousands of jobs for local communities and saving taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.”

The legislation would specifically move the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture to Missouri and the Department of Education to Tennessee.

Senator Blackburn said, “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. Tennesseans would greatly benefit from having portions of the Department of Education in the Volunteer State. It is my hope that the HIRE Act will quickly pass the Senate.”


Federal jobs are concentrated disproportionately in Washington, D.C.

Americans spend billions in taxes to pay for federal salaries. But they lack equal access to those jobs. Even though federal jobs are paid for by everybody, those jobs disproportionately are in the D.C. area.

Federal jobs provide economic stability and encourage regional growth. When the FBI moved the Criminal Justice Information Services Center to Clarksburg, WV, the stable stream of revenue from those jobs boosted the local economy and helped it grow.

Moving agencies also is cheaper long term. Lease costs typically are less outside D.C. Relocating agencies in the Department of Agriculture to Kansas City, according to one report, will save $300 million over 15 years. That report also notes that moving agencies outside D.C. similarly saves costs by decreasing employee attrition. Retaining quality employees is easier when costs of living are low, commute times are short, and federal salaries are high relative to the region.

What Senator Hawley’s bill does

Recently, the Bureau Land Management announced plans to move to Colorado, and two Department of Agriculture agencies are moving to Kansas City. Senator Hawley’s bill would boost this trend by moving most agencies to economically distressed regions so that the benefits of those jobs are more widely distributed.

  • Moves 90 percent of the positions in 10 executive departments from D.C. to economically distressed regions in the following states

Department of Agriculture


Department of Commerce


Department of Education


Department of Energy


Health and Human Services


Housing and Urban Development


Department of Interior

New Mexico

Department of Labor

West Virginia

Department of Transportation


Veterans Affairs

South Carolina

  • Requires the federal government to move most non-department agencies to economically distressed regions that have a geographic nexus to the agency
  • Boosts the economy in distressed areas by moving jobs and infrastructure projects to those areas
  • Save taxpayers money in the long term by reducing costs