Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined a bicameral letter urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to reconsider the proposed relocation of the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and to recognize the needs of federal employees in the National Capital Region.
Congressman Sarbanes was joined on the letter by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), along with U.S. Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), David Trone (D-Md.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).
“These agencies are national research institutions that provide vital information on national and local issues that are critically important to farmers, families, and rural communities,” the Members wrote. “In order to provide this world-class research, ERS and NIFA need to be able to coordinate with other U.S. statistical agencies as well as other stakeholders that are connected to on the ground efforts, which are headquartered in the National Capital Region. We remain concerned that this restructuring will gut the ability of these agencies to successfully carry out their important missions. We also remain concerned that the quality of work being done at ERS and NIFA has already been undermined and will continue to degrade.”