("Quid coniuratio est?")
[From The Congressional Record -- House, H957, Jan. 31, 1995]
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:
Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Duncan] is recognized for 5 minutes.
(Mr. Duncan asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, one of the most wasteful, inefficient agencies in the entire Federal Government is the Food and Drug Administration [FDA].
In their bureaucratic and arrogant way, they have held medicines and medical devices off the U.S. market, sometimes for years, to the detriment of the health of American citizens.
By their rules, regulations, and red tape, they have driven up the price of drugs and have helped the big drug giants by making it extremely difficult or almost impossible for small businesses to compete in the field.
Now, however, they want to do something which should outrage every taxpayer in the Nation.
At a time when we are supposed to be downsizing the Federal Government, the FDA wants to build a Taj Mahal complex of buildings in Maryland for a new headquarters.
Part of this project is to be in Montgomery County and part in Prince Georges County.
However, the important point is not the location. It is the cost.
The original cost estimate for these buildings was almost $1 billion dollars.
However, because the FDA has become concerned about the appearance of this exorbitant and excessive spending at a time when most people want frugality in Government, they have lowered their estimated cost, all the way down to $875 million.
Even if this project comes in on budget, which I seriously doubt, it would still be at a cost of a whopping $257 a square foot.
State governments are building beautiful buildings for half this cost.
And is the FDA doing everything possible to hold down costs? Well, since the money is not coming out of their own pockets, they chose the most expensive site they looked at and some of the most expensive land in this Nation.
The original cost estimate for the Prince Georges facility was $290 a square foot.
The Montgomery County complex is to be several buildings interconnected, in a college campus-like setting, on a 530-acre tract of land -- 530 acres when they could build a beautiful headquarters on an acre or less.
The fact is, Mr. Speaker, the FDA should be greatly reformed. It should be greatly downsized. It should stay where it is now.
Perhaps the most phenomenal thing of all is the size of this project -- 3.4 million square feet -- to house only 6,500 employees. This comes out to approximately 750 square feet per employee.
Most Members of Congress have approximately 1,000 square feet to house 9 or 10 employees, or about one-seventh of what the FDA wants.
Moreover, FDA's current offices and laboratories occupy 2.1 million square feet of office space.
The new FDA complex will be 3.4 million square feet in size. This is one million, three hundred thousand square feet more than what they have now -- a 60 percent increase -- at a time when the Federal Government is supposed to be downsizing.
With a national debt of more than $4.7 trillion, we should not be spending almost $1 billion to build plush new quarters for FDA bureaucrats.
The bureaucrats want to live like kings while taxpayers foot the bill.
I am pleased that today, the Citizens for a Sound Economy came out strongly against this project.
I know we have a Government that is of, by, and for the bureaucrats instead of one that is of, by, and for the people, but, Mr. Speaker, this is one I hope we can win for the taxpayers.
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[Copies of The Congressional Record are normally available for viewing at your local library.]
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Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"