Will Congress Move the ‘Swamp’ to Your Neighborhood?

Warren Davidson Photo on Facebook

Warren Davidson Photo on Facebook

(Paul Chesser, Liberty Headlines) Even though it wasn’t his favorite catchphrase during the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump eventually came to embrace the chant heard from supporters multiple times at each of his massive rallies around the country.

“Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp!”

Now that Trump has been elected, two Congressmen have introduced legislation named for the popular anti-DC campaign theme that targeted corruption, insider dealing, and downsizing the federal government.

The Drain the Swamp Act of 2017, however, takes an unusual approach to diminishing the power of the Washington establishment — one that many who repeated the phrase probably did not have in mind.

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According to a press release issued by House co-sponsors Warren Davidson of Ohio and Ted Budd of North Carolina — both Republicans — the bill would require all federal agencies’ headquarters in Washington to relocate outside the DC metro area.

Why? So bureaucrats can see the effects their actions and regulations have on the people they serve.

“Americans made it clear that they are fed up with the disconnect between the DC elite and the hardworking American people, and I agree,” said Budd. “The legislation that Warren and I introduced will help address this detachment by moving these government agencies into the same neighborhoods as the people they are serving across the country.”

One has to wonder if Trump voters who advocated for the dismantling of Washington would welcome bringing more of the federal government into their own neighborhoods. But Davidson says it’s needed, if Americans are to have any hope that government will be more responsive to their needs.

“Five out of ten of the richest counties in the country are located in Washington. Something is wrong here,” he said. “In addition to cost benefits, my hope is that government agencies will reorient themselves to what is most important- the people they serve.”

According to information provided by Davidson’s office, under the proposed bill, no more than 10 percent of any agency’s personnel would be permitted to remain in Washington. Agency leaders would be required to submit relocation plans to Congress by September 2018, then they would have five years to implement their plans and be moved by September 2023.

Davidson told the Troy Daily News in his Ohio district that there could be other benefits from the decentralization of the federal government out of the District of Columbia, such as cost savings.

“This is one of the most expensive cost-of-living areas in the country,” he told the newspaper. “I think … you’re going to spend generally less on just about everything, and you’re going to de-concentrate the swamp.”

According to the Daily News, Davidson cited the Departments of Agriculture and Interior as logical choices of agencies that might be better operated “out of the bubble” of Washington and instead in farm- or resource-rich areas such as the Midwest or West.

Davidson is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and has enlisted the support of grassroots activist group FreedomWorks, which has agreed to endorse the legislation. Budd was elected to his first term in November.

The bill will be referred to the House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform.