Move Some Federal Agencies Out of DC, Proposed Resolution States

Published February 11, 2017

Congress is considering a resolution advocating the moving of federal government agencies’ headquarters from Washington, DC to other cities.

In January, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) proposed House Resolution 38, a nonbinding resolution expressing support for relocating federal agencies’ headquarters away from the nation’s capital.

Cathedrals to Big Government

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, says the effects of federal government policies are often invisible to bureaucrats working in Washington, DC.

“We have basically these marble temples in Washington, DC that like to pretend they’re driving certain segments of the economy, when, in reality, they’re hindering the economy,” Bydlak said. “A big part of the reason they’re not aware of that is because they’re sort of cloistered away, much like you find academics cloistered away in the proverbial ivory tower.

“I do think there is some merit to having people on the ground who are really, actually having to live more directly with the policies and executive actions that are being enacted by fiat by executive agencies,” Bydlak said.

Could Increase Economic Dependency

Bydlak says the size of the government is the most urgent problem.

“I’m most interested in reducing the size of government more so than sort-of redistributing the wealth, so to speak,” Bydlak said. “I worry a little bit about the potential to essentially make other parts of the country even more dependent on big government than they are now.”

Says Proposal Demonstrates Commitment

Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, says the resolution shows lawmakers are serious about reforming the federal government.  

“The focus about restructuring is a good one, and I hope the Trump administration does take it seriously, because there are all kinds of no-brainer reforms we ought to be doing,” Edwards said. “In particular, we should be making it a lot easier to fire federal workers who are performing poorly, and we ought to be reforming their gold-plated pension plans.”

Edwards says the proposal is well-intentioned but won’t fully solve the problem of runaway federal spending.

“I like the focus on reforming the bureaucracy, but I don’t think this particular reform is the answer to the problems in Washington, DC,” Edwards said. “The disadvantage of spreading out the bureaucracy is that you’re going to make more members of Congress unwilling to cut the federal budget.”