In this file:
· Farm Leader Says Inspector General’s Report On USDA Office Moves Is Disturbing
· New IG report is likely just a speed bump on USDA’s road to Kansas City
Farm Leader Says Inspector General’s Report On USDA Office Moves Is Disturbing
Radio 570 WNAX (SD)
Aug 8, 2019
The Agriculture Department’s Inspector General is reporting that USDA may have broken the law by not obtaining Congressional approval before relocating two research agencies out of Washington, D.C. Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen whose group opposed the move calls the report disturbing and that the relocation was politically motivated.
The Inspector General also said that while the USDA didn’t get approval from Congress before spending money on the relocation, they did have the authority to move those offices. Hansen says that’s still a problem as both Congress and USDA need to work together before any relocations occur.
He says Congress could attempt to correct the move by placing a rider in an appropriation bill for the USDA...
more, including audio [1:21 min.]
New IG report is likely just a speed bump on USDA’s road to Kansas City
By Dan Flynn, Food Safety News by Marler Clark
August 6, 2019
A new report by the Inspector General for USDA has only one Constitutionally- suspect argument for use by Congressional opponents of moving some federal jobs to the Kansas City area. Some transferred positions involve food safety-related research positions.
Under his own authority, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is about to finish the realignment and relocation of two USDA units, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Perdue is moving the two agencies out of Washington D.C. to the Kansas City metropolitan area. About 40 percent of the existing employees accepted transfer assignments, leaving about 250 job openings will available in the KC area.
The relocation is expected to be completed by Sept. 9, the date Congress returns from its lengthy summer shutdown.
The IG report finds Perdue has the legal authority for the realignment and relocation, but questions whether it would be permitted by a budget proviso. “We found that the Reorganization Plan provides the Department the legal authority to make operational decisions that include the realignment of agencies within the Department.” the iG report says.
Stephen Vaden, USDA’s legal counsel said the budget provision is not only unconstitutional, but Congress has also acknowledged it.
“So uncontroversial is the unconstitutionality of the approval provision discussed in the Official Draft that, despite Congress’s passage of such unconstitutional language,Congress itself has acknowledged that committee approval provisions are invalid.The Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, states as much in its GAO Redhook discussing Federal appropriations law,”Vaden writes in USDA’s response to the IG.
“Some statutory reprogramming restrictions also provide for committee approval. As in the case of transfer, under the Supreme Court’s decision in Immigration & Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983),statutory committee approval or veto provisions are no longer permissible,” he adds.
“Thus, the Department has complied with applicable law by providing Congress with the notice it called for in appropriations legislation. USDA is not required to abide by unconstitutional laws. Therefore, the Department declines OIG’s recommendation to ignore Supreme Court, Office of Legal Counsel, and Government Accountability Office precedent and seek congressional committee approval of the relocations.”
The IG acknowledges that “the Department takes the position that the “committee approval” provisions of Section 717(a) are unconstitutional and are without legal effect.” Her point is USDA followed such provisions since 2015...