WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the Strategic Withdrawal of Agencies for Meaningful Placement (SWAMP) Act, legislation that would move the headquarters of federal agencies outside of the immediate Washington, D.C. area, and establishes a competitive bidding process that allows states, cities, and towns across the country to compete to be an agency’s new home. This legislation is the Senate companion to H.R.4863, which was introduced by Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06).

Currently, the headquarters of nearly all executive branch agencies are clustered in and around Washington, D.C., concentrating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region. The SWAMP Act aims to distribute agency headquarters over geographically diverse areas and among the people most impacted by the effects of agency decisions. This legislation will help to ensure agencies focus on the stakeholders, and not on bureaucracy within the D.C. beltway while also bringing good, stable government jobs to new parts of the country.

“Every day, out-of-touch federal government agencies and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. make important decisions and rules that directly impact the lives of folks across the United States,” said Senator Ernst. “As we saw with the Waters of the U.S. Rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, these decisions are often nonsensical or, in this case, have harmful impacts on the people these agencies serve. The SWAMP Act seeks to get the federal government outside of the Washington beltway, so these federal agencies can see and hear first-hand the impact their policies have on the folks who know their states, businesses, and needs the best.”

"With the election of President Trump, the American people sent a strong message that they wanted a government that better serves them, not Washington bureaucrats,” said Congressman Messer. “There’s no reason why the Department of Agriculture has to be in the District of Columbia when it could be located in Indiana, Iowa or another heartland state. Our legislation would help deliver on President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp and at the same time allow more communities across the United States to benefit from added jobs and increased economic growth. I appreciate Senator Ernst’s efforts on this issue as we work to deliver a better, more effective government for all Americans.”

The SWAMP ACT:

  • Repeals the section of the U.S. Code that requires federal agencies and departments to be located in Washington, D.C.
  • Prohibits agencies currently headquartered in the Washington. D.C. area from entering into new lease agreements, making significant renovations to their existing locations, or beginning construction on new facilities in the area.
  • Exempts the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Defense, and all other national security-related agencies that must be in close proximity to Congress and the White House.
  • Establishes a competitive bidding process to allow states and municipalities to compete for the relocated headquarters.

Read the full text of the SWAMP Act here.