Jun 13, 2019

Trump administration moving hundreds of USDA scientists from D.C. to Kansas City

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a 2018 forum. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Employees at USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) intend to move from Washington, D.C. to an unspecified area in the Kansas City region by the end of 2019, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: "Employees, congressional Democrats and a bipartisan coalition of former USDA leaders" have warned that the move "would devastate the two agencies," per the Post. ERS and NIFA have both recently unionized and some "union officials have promised to fight the move."

Details: ERS jobs remaining in D.C. mostly belong to "administrative staff, analysts who perform market outlook estimates and those who collect data," according to internal documents reviewed by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Their analysis showed that "[e]conomists and other ERS researchers who make conclusions from that data are likely to be reassigned to Kansas City" — but the USDA disputes that.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: This move is seen by some as having the effect of reducing the influence of USDA's scientists and statisticians, who will be far away from D.C. power brokers.

The bottom line: The USDA expects to save around $300 million over 15 years after relocating.

Go deeper: USDA halts deadly experiments on kittens for food safety research

Go deeper

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.