Can Ernst’s SWAMP Act Help Drain the Swamp?

Source: Farm Journal's Pork

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) works just down the road from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but she says the people most directly impacted by their rules and regulations, such as the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule, primarily live hundreds or thousands of miles away.

“Currently, the headquarters of nearly all executive branch agencies are clustered in and around Washington, D.C.,” Ernst said in her monthly letter to constituents. “Not only does this concentrate hundreds of thousands of jobs in the area, but it puts out-of-touch Washington bureaucrats in charge of making decisions and rules that directly affect the lives of folks across the country.”

She calls the concentration of government buildings in Washington the “bureaucratic bubble.”

“As we saw with the WOTUS 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,” Ernst said. “If these government agencies were headquartered in a Midwestern state, like Iowa, and staffed by folks whose friends, families, and neighbors really feel the impact of these decisions, a rule like WOTUS may never have been proposed.”

Last month, Ernst introduced the Strategic Withdrawal of Agencies for Meaningful Placement Act, or SWAMP Act, to offer a solution to the problem. The SWAMP Act seeks to get the federal government outside of the Washington beltway, so federal agencies can “see and hear first-hand the impact their policies have on the folks who know their areas needs the best,” she said.

Hoping to Pop the Bureaucratic Bubble
Ernst’s legislation establishes a competitive bidding process that would allow states, cities, and towns across the country the opportunity to be an agency’s new home. She believes this will also “bring stable government jobs to new parts of the country, and help bring a more diverse set of voices and opinions to the policy making process,” she wrote to constituents. She also noted the difference in rental rates, saying, “office space in Washington, D.C. rents for almost $60 per square foot, versus just $18 in Des Moines - saving taxpayer dollars!”

According to Ernst, folks at the Sioux City Journal agree the SWAMP Act would save money and ensure those making the important decisions are not insulated in a bureaucratic bubble.

“I hereby present the Washington swamp with this month's Squeal Award, and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass the SWAMP Act,” Ernst said.