Interior Department threatens members of Congress for standing up for federal workers


The administration is moving the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado and lawmakers who oppose the move are met with threats.

The administration is continuing its quest to destabilize government agencies, but this time they're going after members of Congress, too.

In July, the Trump administration announced it would be moving the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management from Washington, D.C., to Colorado. That only comprises about 400 employees out of 9,000 nationwide, but the employees in D.C. are top officials who work with Congress.

Democrats have worried that this is a move designed to "dismantle and weaken" the BLM. They should be. Mick Mulvaney, Trump's acting chief of staff, already bragged that relocations are a great way to get federal workers to quit.

Two members of Congress, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), wrote a letter to the Department of the Interior expressing their concern and asking the administration to consider suspending the move. They're concerned about the "incomplete and superficial" information regarding the move. They also pointed out that the relocation of a major government land-use agency should have been coordinated with more stakeholders, including Congress, state and local governments, and Native American tribes.

Finally, the letter highlighted the fact that the move was undertaken without any real consultation with BLM employees — the people who would be forced to move halfway across the country.

Unsurprisingly, what Udall and McCollum got in return was a childish threat. Joe Balash, BLM's assistant secretary for land and minerals management, responded by saying, "Given your apparent strong feelings about the Department's actions and intentions, we pledge to review and reconsider the relocation of additional departmental resources to your state."

In other words, if you dare question the administration's choices, what you'll get in return is a threat to starve your state of resources and people. Minnesota wasn't slated to get any workers, but New Mexico was supposed to get 32 federal workers under the administration's plan.

As McCollum pointed out, this "continues the pattern of this administration's failure to recognize Congress' role as a co-equal branch of government." This is exactly what happens when one party refuses to acknowledge norms and rules. Expect to see more of these haphazardly planned relocations that are nothing but destruction in disguise.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.