The leaders of the Senate Ag Committee have asked Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue for more information on the proposed relocation of two USDA agencies.
In a Sept. 7 letter, Republican Pat Roberts and Democrat Debbie Stabenow request details on cost-benefit analysis, worker retention, stakeholder input and alternatives that were considered.
USDA announced in August that it would move most employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to an unchosen site outside the Beltway.
The agency says the move would help the agency retain workers and save money, though it has offered little data to back up those claims.
Critics worry that experienced staffers may choose not to move with the agency and that the relocation could be an attempt to diminish the agencies.
The American Statistical Association says USDA may have counted summer interns in its attrition rates, inflating the numbers used to justify its proposal.
Roberts and Stabenow also ask why the Ag Department is not seeking public comment before proceeding.