Exclusive — Sen. Joni Ernst: Relocate Largely Vacant Federal Offices from Biden’s ‘D.C. Swamp’ to U.S. ‘Heartland’

Joni Ernst
Stephanie Scarbrough/AP

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is urging to relocate the taxpayer-funded government buildings from President Joe Biden’s “D.C. swamp” to the “heartland” — where they can be “more accountable to the hardworking Americans” there — after disclosing a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealing most federal offices are largely vacant due to widespread teleworking among federal employees.

Following Ernst’s demands for accountability for the abuse of telework by federal employees, the GAO released new numbers to her office revealing no federal agency is occupying even half its office space — yet taxpayers are still liable.

The report, which assessed 24 federal agencies in Washington, DC, from January to March 2023, found the lowest occupancy at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration, with only seven percent usage.

Another offender listed is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), at an occupancy rate of only 11 percent.

Sen. Ernst — whose Strategic Withdrawal of Agencies for Meaningful Placement  (SWAMP) Act would move the headquarters of federal agencies outside of Washington, DC, and distribute them across America among the people most impacted by agency decisions — declared that if government employees are not going to show up, perhaps their agency should be moved to the country.

In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News on Thursday, the Republican senator suggested such a move may finally bring some accountability to the government’s “bureaucrats.”

“While USDA’s offices are empty, Iowa farmers are hard at work. If Biden’s bureaucrats at USDA aren’t going to show up, let’s uproot their headquarters from the mire and mud of the D.C. swamp to the heartland,” she said.

“Maybe this will finally make those bureaucrats creating the rules more accountable to the hardworking Americans who have to live under them!” Ernst added.

Other agencies, such as the Department of Transportation and the Department of Veterans Affairs, saw a measly 14 percent occupancy level, according to the information provided in the memo.

In October, Ernst successfully introduced a bill amendment reducing pay for bureaucrats based on their telework extent and remote work locations. She also demanded a probe into remote work’s impact on productivity earlier in September.

In September, she announced a reform package in an effort to hold the “entrenched federal bureaucracy” accountable, “drain the swamp,” and “cut red tape.”

The package of solutions includes bringing decision-making “closer to the American people and mak[ing] government responsive to the real needs of Americans” through the SWAMP Act she introduced.

Through support for the Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems (SHOW UP) Act, she is also seeking to require federal bureaucrats “‘teleworking’ on the taxpayer’s dime” to “show up for work,” demanding investigations into their “abuse” of remote “work.”

Previously, Ernst called for the closure of the recently renovated Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in Democrat-run San Francisco, citing severe public safety concerns from a spike in crime and drug activity in the area and describing the “haunted house” as a “far-left failure” and “symbol” of government dysfunction.

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The unsafe conditions, highlighted by an alarming number of overdoses and violent incidents near the facility, led the Department of Health and Human Services to advise employees against coming to the office.

Joshua Klein is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jklein@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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