SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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NAMING BILLS AND THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION HEADQUARTERS IN MARYLAND
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
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TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
MAY 23, 1996
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastucture
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTUCTURE
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
SUSAN MOLINARI, New York
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
BILL BAKER, California
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
ZACH WAMP, Tennessee
TOM LATHAM, Iowa
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCRAY LaHOOD, Illinois
BILL MARTINI, New Jersey
DAN FRISA, New York
TODD TIAHRT, Kansas
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
PETE GEREN, Texas
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma
KAREN McCARTHY, Missouri
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland, Chairman
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
DAN FRISA, New York
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Barrett, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from Nebraska
Berne, Dr. Bernard H., Private Citizen
Bretz, Betsy, Chairperson, LABQUEST '96
Holston, Sharon Smith, Assistant Commissioner for External Affairs, Food and Drug Administration, accompanied by Robert Byrd, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Management and Systems
Lawson, William, Assistant Regional Administrator, Public Buildings Service, National Capital Region, General Services Administration
Levin, M.J.''Mike'', Hillandale Citizen's Association
McDade, Hon. Joseph M., a Representative in Congress from Pennsylvania, accompanied by Father Joseph G. Quinn, Rector, St. Peter's Cathedral, Scranton, PA
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Morella, Hon. Connie, a Representative in Congress from Maryland
Romer, Bruce, Chief Administrative Officer, Montgomery County, Maryland
Verheggen, Lydia S., Director, Health Care Policy, Citizens for a Sound Economy
Wynn, Hon. Albert R., a Representative in Congress from Maryland
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
McDade, Hon. Joseph M., of Pennsylvania
Wynn, Hon. Albert R., of Maryland
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Berne, Dr. Bernard H
Holston, Sharon Smith
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Quinn, Rev. Joseph
Verheggen, Lydia S
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Lawson, William, Assistant Regional Administrator, National Capital Region, General Services Administration responses to post hearing questions
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Bereuter, Hon. Doug, a Representative in Congress from Nebraska, statement
Christensen, Hon. Jon, a Representative in Congress from Nebraska, statement
Clay, Hon. William L., a Representative in Congress from Missouri, statement
Daub, Hal, Mayor, City of Omaha, statement
Gingrich, Hon. Newt, Speaker of the House from Georgia, statement
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Thone, Charles, Lawyer, Erickson and Sederstrom, Lincoln, NE, letter, May 20, 1996
NAMING BILLS AND THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION HEADQUARTERS IN MARYLAND
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 1996
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:09 a.m. in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne Gilchrest (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. GILCHREST. The committee will come to order.
Today's meeting will provide us with an opportunity to address several issues pending before the subcommittee. We will review and consider the three bills proposing the naming of a Federal building and two United States courthouses. We will then receive a status report on the consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration's headquarters in Montgomery and Prince George's County, Maryland.
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After receiving all testimony, our naming bills and resolution on use of the Capitol grounds, the subcommittee will proceed to mark up the naming bills and concurrent resolution.
I would like to begin the hearing by welcoming several of our distinguished colleagues, either here or stuck in traffic and soon to be here, who will join us this morning to testify on behalf of the FDA consolidation and the naming bills, and express our appreciation for their participation in these proceedings.
I have a few remarks regarding the FDA consolidation.
Congress authorized this consolidation in 1990 and this project has undergone several changes and reductions. This is the second time that the subcommittee has held a hearing on this subject. Last year, the FDA and GSA testified to an 810 million consolidation. Since then, there has been a recision of $228 million and a reduction of the appropriation request of $100 million.
The project currently has $151 million appropriated, of which a little less than $60 million has been obligated.
Last year's Congress appropriated 55 million for a new facility for the Center for Food and Safety and Applied Nutrition. I understand that sites are under consideration for this facility.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am eager to hear about the progress of this phase, as well as the plans for the White Oak site.
I welcome our first witness this morning, Mr. Bill Barrett, representing the great State of Nebraska, and at this time I'll ask Mr. Traficant if he has any opening remarks.
Mr. TRAFICANT. I'm looking forward to hearing from the good chairman and welcome him here today.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Traficant.
Mr. Duncan, any opening remarks?
Mr. DUNCAN. No, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Barrett, you have the floor.
TESTIMONY OF HON. BILL BARRETT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEBRASKA
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. Thanks for the opportunity to testify before this subcommittee today.
I'm pleased to be here in support of H.R. 3400, which is a bill to name a new United States courthouse in Omaha, Nebraska, after Roman Hruska, a great Nebraskan, public servant, and a very good personal friend.
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I know the subcommittee has had a chance to review Senator Hruska's resume, but let me highlight certainly the fact that he got a start in public service as a member of a local county board of commissioners and then he then served in the House of Representatives, representing Nebraska's 2nd District. He served for 1 year in the House, and he was elected the fill a vacancy in the Senate, and Senator Hruska served in the United States Senate from 1954 to 1976, 22 very productive years.
It was during Senator Hruska's tenure in the Senate that he influenced the Nation's judiciary system, and as a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Hruska had the opportunity to serve on special commissions to revise the Federal appellate court system and reform the Federal criminal code and study the causes and prevention of violence.
On a very personal level, Mr. Chairman, it was Roman Hruska who encouraged me to enter public service. He was influential in my decision to seek the chairmanship of the Nebraska republican party at one time, and later to represent my District in the State legislature. After 12 years in the State legislature, I was prepared to go home and make a living again, and Senator Hruska was there once again to urge me to run for my current seat in the House of Representatives.
Sometimes I don't know if I should thank him or not, but nevertheless that was the case.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARRETT. Senator Hruska has been a mentor to me, not only by his words but by his actions. His reputation for hard work and integrity was certainly earned, and it's widely recognized by all Nebraskans.
Senator Hruska, through his work and dedication to an effective judiciary, has influenced many Nebraskans in all walks of life, and in the words of Omaha's current mayor, Hal Daub, a former Member of the House, ''There is an abundance of Nebraskan legal professionals whose lives have been profoundly affected by Senator Hruska and whose career choices have been inspired by him.''
Realizing that Congress does not lightly select names to designate Federal buildings, I think H.R. 3400 would certainly honor an influential Nebraskan and to perhaps inspire all of us to seek the same goals and integrity and honesty in our lives.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I would urge the committee to support the bill and I thank you again for the time that you've allowed me.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Barrett.
We are pleased that Mr. Hruska influenced your decision to come here to Washington and to carry on his tradition of good government.
Are there any members of the subcommittee that have any questions? Ms. Norton?
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. NORTON. I have no questions, but I just want to say to my good friend, Bill Barrett, there's almost nothing I don't think this subcommittee should do for Bill Barrett, and we certainly ought to do this because the Senator involved is a very distinguished Member of the Congress.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you.
Ms. NORTON. Thanks, Bill.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Ms. Norton.
Thank you very much, Mr. Barrett.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Our next witness will be the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. McDade, and his friend, Father Joseph Quinn.
TESTIMONY OF HON. JOSEPH M. MCDADE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM PENNSYLVANIA, ACCOMPANIED BY FATHER JOSEPH G. QUINN, RECTOR, ST. PETER'S CATHEDRAL, SCRANTON, PA
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Good morning, Joe.
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Mr. MCDADE. Mr. Traficant and my colleagues, I want to express my deep appreciation to the committee for their generosity in permitting us to have a hearing on this bill, which would name the Federal building in Scranton, Pennsylvanianot the Federal building, whatever that means, but the building that would honor the name of William J. Nealon, who has been a district court judge for about a third of a century.
I wish that everybody would have an opportunity to acquaint with him. He's a magnificent humanist, a proud juristnot proud in the sense of arrogance, respectful of the law, administers the law in a very even-handed waya marvelous man. Believe me, my friends, when I tell you we know some of the others that inhabit the planet; this is one that we'd all be proud to claim.
I would appreciate very much if I might put my statement into the record, and rather than listen to meyou hear enough of me every dayintroduce to you my dear friend, Father Joe Quinn from the city of Scranton who trained as a lawyer and got his law degree, etc., and then one can say the light went on and he thought he might better serve humanity by being a priest. He's done so.
He knows my community in and out like the back of his hand and he knows Judge Nealon in and out like the back of our hand.
I'd like to introduce to the committee and have him testify, Father Joe Quinn.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. McDade.
Father QUINN. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
I appear before you today grateful for the opportunity to speak about this legislation designating the new United States courthouse and building being constructed in Scranton in honor of what, frankly, we think is one of Pennsylvania's most distinguished judges and one who has been honored by our entire country.
I'm especially grateful to Congressman McDade for the kind invitation to be with you this morning. Congressman McDade continues to represent fearlessly and persistently the best interest of the people of northeastern Pennsylvania.
As Congressman pointed out, I appear before you this morning as one who strives to be a man of God and an active member of my own local community, and I'm very humble to claim Judge Nealon as a lifetime friend.
More than two decades ago it was my privilege to serve him as his law clerk. At that time he was the chief judge of the United States district court for the middle district of Pennsylvania.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Twenty years ago this past week, my own clerkship came to an early end and I commenced service as a member of that bench of that court. For 6 years thereafter, I served the middle district as a Federal magistrate judge.
As you can see, God had other plans for me, and in 1981 I began my own studies for the priesthood, and have, since the year 1985, served contentedly as a priest of God.
As a friend, as a clerk, as a jurist, as a community activist, and now a priest and long-time admirer of Judge Nealon, I attest enthusiastically today to you to the outstanding qualities of this extraordinary jurist whom we seek to honor through this legislation.
In an editorial that appeared in one of Scranton's primary papers earlier this month, they said, ''Nealon deserves the honor. He was appointed to the Federal bench in December, 1962, by President John F. Kennedy, becoming at that time the youngest Federal judge in the Nation. He has been a Federal judge for a remarkable 33 years, the longest tenure ever for a judge in the middle district of Pennsylvania, which was formed in 1901.''
Perhaps the former governor of Pennsylvania, The Honorable Robert P. Casey, said it best when he noted in a letter endorsing this legislation, ''Judge Nealon's tenure has been marked not only by longevity, but also by respect and esteem of our people for the sterling personal qualities of mind and heart which he's brought to the public service.
''Respect for the fairness and integrity of the Federal judicial process is the bedrock of democracy. Judge Nealon's life of service has reflected great credit on the Federal judicial system.''
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By naming the new Federal courthouse after this eminent and respected jurist, our Government would be sending a strong message to our people that the qualities of leadership and service which his career embodies are valued by our Government.
It was this great respect for his judicial leadership and his service that earned him the honor in 1983 of being named by the American Trial Lawyers Association as the most outstanding Federal judge in the United States.
Judge Nealon is a man of remarkable talents and amazing energies. He's held in the highest esteem by both his judicial colleagues and by all the parties who have appeared before him or have sought his assistance.
He's long been active in efforts to improve the administration of justice throughout our country. For many years, he served as a representative of the 3rd Circuit to the Committee on the Administration of Criminal Law for the Judicial Conference of the United States.
He's a former member of the 3rd Circuit Judicial Council. And he was elected by the judges of that jurisdiction to serve as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States in 1987 and 1990.
His record of service is replete with titles, honors, and awards which are beyond listing.
His community involvement, as Congressman McDade knows all so well, can be matched by few others.
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He has been acknowledged in so many ways.
Equally impressive is the fact that he and his wife have raised an outstanding family of 10 children, 26 grandchildren, and they embody the best of all virtues. They exemplify for many of us the values that we all are searching for in our society today.
I'm honored to be here today to urge the passage of this legislation. I hope that this subcommittee sees fit to endorse it and the House will adopt it.
Finally, know that the possibility of this honor being accorded Judge Nealon has been happily and enthusiastically received by the community of northeastern Pennsylvania. This legislation serves strong public interest. It would, indeed, be a deserving tribute to a great man, distinguished judge, and one who's truly a public servant.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Father Quinn.
Joe, we appreciate your testimony here this morning and in bringing such a fine man as the Father here. I just thought that he'd have a little more of an Irish accent.
Mr. MCDADE. Next time around, Mr. Chairman, he might have a bit of a brogue.
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Let me express my deep appreciation, members of the committee, for the hearing and for the consideration of the bill. We hope you can act favorably and we appreciate very much the chance.
Mr. GILCHREST. And we'll act promptly, Joe.
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. Is there anyMr. Duncan?
Mr. DUNCAN. Let me just say I want to second the comments of Father Quinn about Congressman McDade in the very effective way that he's representing his District. He certainly has the interest of his District at heart, and just appearing at this time on the legislation before our subcommittee is another way he serves his District.
I'd just put that on the record.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Duncan.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Chairman, I, too, want to echo those comments by Chairman Duncan down there. I think Joe McDade has done a tremendous job, and the fact that he's here means an awful lot to me, and with you, Father.
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So we welcome you here, and we're very proud of the service work with Joe McDade, and some day maybe one of those buildings up in that area should be named for the real work horse up there, you knowshow horses and work horses, and there is a work horse right there in Joe McDade.
Father QUINN. I would agree with you. We're very proud of the work horse we have and we're grateful for all that he does for us.
Mr. TRAFICANT. You've got a good one.
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Traficant.
Mr. McDade and Father, thank you for coming this morning.
Father QUINN. Thank you.
Mr. MCDADE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. We were scheduled now to have Mrs. Morella to come and testify. Does anybody know if she'll be here in the next minute or two?
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Mr. GILCHREST. I think what we'll do now is to move on to the next few witnesses: William Lawson, assistant regional administrator, National Capital Region, GSA; and Sharon Smith Holston, assistant commissioner for external affairs, Food and Drug Administration.
Mr. Lawson and Ms. Holston, we welcome you here this morning. We look forward to your testimony so that we can move forward to do properly the Nation's business with the Food and Drug problems.
Ms. Holston, you may go first.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM LAWSON, ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION; AND SHARON SMITH HOLSTON, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT BYRD, ACTING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR MANAGEMENT AND SYSTEMS
Ms. HOLSTON. Thank you. If you don't mind, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to defer to Mr. Lawson.
Mr. GILCHREST. All right. Mr. Lawson?
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LAWSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning. My name is William Lawson, and I'm the Assistant Regional Administrator for Public Building Service of the National Capital Region at GSA. I'm here today to report on GSA's effort with regard to the consolidation project for the Food and Drug Administration in Maryland.
GSA is pleased to report to the committee that we are vigorously pursuing the planning, design, and construction of the FDA project in full accordance with Public Law 101635, the FDA Revitalization Act.
Consistent with the FDA Revitalization Act, the October 2, 1991, conference committee report, H.R. 102-234 and four subsequent appropriation bills, GSA is moving forward with this project.
We have identified a site in Montgomery County, Maryland, to locate the office of the Commissioner, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and a Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and have procured professional design services to begin the master planning process for optimizing the site.
Similarly, in Prince George's County, Maryland, GSA is evaluating several sites for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and the office component of the Center for Veterinary Medicine.
The laboratory component for the Center for Veterinary Medicine is being constructed at an existing FDA-owned site in Beltsville, Maryland.
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Overall, the consolidation project is well underway.
Beginning with the laboratory under construction in Beltsville, this project is on budget, it's 80 percent complete in construction, and is six months ahead of schedule.
We anticipate completing this facility by October 1996, and completing the move of the Center for Veterinarian Medicine by December 1996.
We were fortunate to have a viable, Federally-owned site to construct this facility at the start.
For the rest of the Prince George's County consolidation, we had to look for a new site, because the Beltsville property could not accommodate all of the facilities required. Our search has focused on sites in close proximity to public transportation, particularly Metro Rail, and the College Park campus of the University of Maryland.
This proximity to the university became a critical factor when the university and the FDA entered into an agreement on April 15, 1996, to share scientific resources.
GSA is currently finalizing an environmental assessment of three potential sites in the College Park area, and anticipates completing the purchase of one of the sites and beginning construction by September 1996.
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The consolidation project in Montgomery County has had a more difficult time moving forward. GSA was close to purchasing a site along the Route 270 Corridor, but the recision of the $228 million in funding effectively stopped this process; however, concurrent with the funding rescission, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the BRAC Commission, identified the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak, Maryland, for closure.
Thus, GSA had an opportunity to utilize existing Federally-owned land in Montgomery County. Taking advantage of this opportunity, GSA has formally requested transfer of this soon-to-be-vacated site from the Secretary of the Navy and is awaiting the Secretary's favorable response.
GSA has also entered into discussions with the Navy regarding cleanup of hazardous waste on the site and has signed an agreement to share a small portion of the property with the Army, which occupies an adjacent research facility.
Furthermore, GSA has initiated a master planning effort to optimize the Federal Government's use of the site once it is transferred.
When Congress passed the FDA Revitalization Act of 1990, I believe they recognized the poor facilities in which the FDA was housed and became aware of the $30 million in annual lease cost to the Government to support their program. GSA has made tremendous strides to improve FDA's housing situation.
With FDA's help, we have worked hard to reduce the cost of this consolidation from the original budget of $1.2 billion to the current budget of $586 million, while aggressively moving forward on the portions of the project which have already been funded.
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This project makes sense for FDA and it makes sense for the United States Government.
With the continued support of the Congress, GSA will proceed in the development of the White Oak site to provide the required research and administrative facilities for FDA.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to address you this morning, and after Deputy Commissioner Holston's statement I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Lawson.
Ms. HOLSTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Sharon Smith Holston, deputy commissioner for external affairs of the Food and Drug Administration, and I thank you for the opportunity to appear before your subcommittee to discuss the FDA headquarters consolidation project.
First of all, I'd like to introduce my colleague, Mr. Robert Byrd, who is the Acting Deputy Commissioner for Management and Systems.
Mr. Chairman, the subject of this hearing is a matter of longstanding and serious concern for our agency. As you know, FDA has been charged by Congress with great responsibilities for this country's public health. It is our job to make sure that our national food supply, with the sole exception of meat and poultry, is safe, wholesome, and honestly labeled.
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We are responsible for compliance with laws that require that all drugs, both for people and for animals, all blood products, all vaccines, and all medical devices are safe and effective.
And we have to make certain that radiological devices and cosmetics do no harm.
In all, our agency regulates products worth about $1 trillion a year, accounting for one-quarter of all consumer spending.
These consumer goods are important for the public and individual health, and American consumers take it for granted that FDA-regulated products are up to the high standards set by the laws and by the Agency.
To carry out the FDA mandates with the vigor, the competence, and the effectiveness that Congress and the American public expect from us, our Agency must be as scientifically advanced as the industries whose products we regulate. We must have a staff of highly-qualified scientists. We must have modern, state-of-the-art laboratories.
Much of our work is carried out by five highly-specialized centers, one each for human drugs, biologics, medical devices, food, and veterinary medicine. And because of the increasingly complex nature of modern health products that combine the functions of both devices and drugsfor example, medicated wound dressings or bone cements that contain antibiotics or dental composites with fluoridesthese FDA centers and their scientists must be in close contact with one another.
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Mr. Chairman, all of these requirementshighly-trained scientists working in modern laboratories in close proximity to one anotherare important for this country's public health, but they are for us increasingly difficult to meet.
A major difficultly we face in our daily work is our scattered, crowded, and frequently obsolete facilities. At present, our Agency headquarters is dispersed in more than 40 buildings at 18 different locations. As a result, our managers and staff spend too much of their valuable time traveling to distant meetings.
That travel, I might add, not only reduces the amount of work that they can do in their officeS, but it also costs money.
Because of the distances that separate them, our scientists from several centers find it difficult and time-consuming to arrange joint consultations and to share equipment, personnel, and expertise to solve new problems in science and technology.
The fact that many of our laboratories are outdated is no secret to the scientific community. We experience this problem most when we try to hire or even to retain the top experts in various scientific disciplines that are required for our missions.
In sum, Mr. Chairman, we face very difficult obstacles in trying to protect and promote the public health in the efficient, cost-effective way in which all of us want the Food and Drug Administration to function, and it is not a new situation.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Poor facilities are a chronic problem that has been with us for the last two decades. As you know, 6 years ago Congress recognized the need to rectify the shortcoming by passing the FDA Revitalization Act of 1990, which authorized the consolidation of our headquarters.
In 1994, the Office of Management and Budget approved a plan that called for the construction of two consolidated FDA facilities in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. The site in Montgomery County was to include, as you've heard, the Office of the Commissioner, the Office of Regulatory Affairs, and the Centers for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices and Radiological Health.
The other site for the Centers for Food and for Veterinary Medicine was to be located in Prince George's County. Last year, however, Congress decided to scale down the consolidation project, which left us in a somewhat complex situation.
We have been able to proceed with some of our plans for the new facility in Prince George's County, where our food scientists will closely collaborate with their counterparts at the University of Maryland.
As for the Montgomery County site, we've had to abandon the previously-approved plans and, acting on our behalf, GSA is engaged in the evaluation of a new site at the former Naval base at White Oak, Maryland. Thus far, however, no money has been appropriated for any FDA construction in Montgomery County.
Mr. Chairman, we fully share the desire of this Congress, the Administration, and the American public to exercise the greatest restraint in spending the taxpayers' dollars. Our consolidation project is important precisely for that reason. It will enable us to further increase our efficiency and continue to speed up the reviews and approvals of drugs and other vital products. It will help us reduce FDA's overall operating expenses.
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Most important of all, the consolidation will improve our ability to safeguard the public health and thereby help protect the country against the rising cost of health care.
My colleagues and I will be happy to provide you with detailed information about the status of this vital project, and we thank you again for your interest in this issue.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Ms. Holston.
If it would be all right with the committee, if Mr. Lawson and Ms. Holston could just step aside for a second while Congressman Wynn gives us his testimony, and then we'll come right back to Mr. Lawson and Ms. Holston for questions.
Thank you very much.
The committee this morning welcomes Congressman Albert Wynn, and I think, Albert, you're going to talk a little bit about FDA, as well.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ALBERT R. WYNN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND
Mr. WYNN. That's correct, Mr. Chairman. Good morning to you and to the members of the committee.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILCHREST. Good morning.
Mr. WYNN. It's a pleasure for me to be here.
I won't take much time, but I do want to testify and indicate to you the importance that we in Montgomery County feel this project has, and we certainly would like to encourage you to give strong consideration to the use of the White Oak facility.
I'm delighted to be here with you today, and I'd also like to welcome representatives from Montgomery County, including Mr. Bruce Romer, who's the chief administrative officer for Montgomery County, who I believe will be speaking to you later on today.
This morning I want to express my support for the FDA consolidation of White Oak in Montgomery County, Maryland. As you know, there are roughly 5,900 FDA employees scheduled to be relocated. Eighty percent of those employees currently work and/or live in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Since the enactment of the FDA Revitalization Act of 1990, there has been a clear Congressional intent expressed over the past 5 years to consolidate FDA in Maryland. Most recently, the House/Senate conference report on H.R. 2200, the Treasury Postal Service and General Government Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1996, requested that the General Services Administration study the Naval Surface Warfare Center at White Oak in Montgomery County for consolidation of FDA activities.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center is currently a Navy-owned and operated facility for Naval surface warfare research. It is scheduled to be closed as a result of the Base Alignment and Closure Act of 1995.
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The United States Navy is currently in the process of transferring this property to GSA. It is located five miles north of Washington, D.C., and consists of about 732 acres of land in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland. It's a mixture of residential, park, industrial, commercial, and Federal properties surround the site.
The White Oak site in Montgomery County would be used to consolidate the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biological Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Research, and the office of the commissioner.
The remaining centers, as you have heardthe Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionare already being consolidated in Prince George's County, and that project, I believe, is almost halfway to completion.
The anticipated FDA consolidation in Montgomery County at the White Oak site has gathered strong support from the governor, the Maryland Congressional delegation, our county executive in Montgomery County, the Honorable Doug Duncan, FDA, and GSA, as you have heard.
At this point I'd also like to ask unanimous consent to enter a letter from the governor of Maryland, the Honorable Parris Glendening, into the record.
Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. WYNN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I believe that consolidating these four centers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak is an effective utilization of existing Federal property and a sound investment for taxpayers.
The committee may recall that the initial site for FDA consolidation in Montgomery County was in Clarksburg. The use of this site was estimated to cost about $800 million. GSA's estimate for the re-use of the White Oak site for FDA consolidation is $471 millionconsiderable savings. I think that is a strong argument in favor of this particular site.
Currently the Federal Government pays about $30 million a year in leases for FDA offices that are located in more than 40 buildings in 18 different locations throughout the Washington metropolitan area. These buildings are old, in poor condition, over-crowded, and are unsafe for FDA employees and do not provide the operational efficiencies of a consolidated campus-like setting which would be available at White Oak.
For that reason, I believe the consolidation of White Oak makes eminent sense. As was just commented upon, having FDA personnel have to travel between 18 different locations and 40 different buildings just doesn't make sense. A more-concentrated approach provides operational efficiency.
We believe White Oak Naval Base is a practical reuse of Federal property to house a large research complex such as FDA, and we believe there is strong local support, as well, to make the transition of FDA at White Oak work effectively.
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We have a local redevelopment authority. Neighborhood and local citizens have come together to coordinate approaches to resolving transportation, environmental issues, and we believe that everything is in place to have an effective consolidation.
I would just urge the committee to give this matter your favorable consideration, and I thank you for your time.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Congressman Wynn.
Are there any questions for
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you for your testimony.
Mr. WYNN. Thank you, Chairman, and members of the committee
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much. We'll take that into close consideration.
Another one of our colleagues has just arrived, the Honorable Congressman Morella.
Connie, I'd ask you to come up to the table and give us your testimony. We are now talking about FDA consolidation.
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TESTIMONY OF HON. CONNIE MORELLA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND
Mrs. MORELLA. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. A subject near and dear to your heart.
Mrs. MORELLA. It is, indeed, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much. I had preceded this hearing with a Civil Service hearing, which is why I wasn't here exactly at 9:00, but I appreciate the opportunity to speak.
Mr. GILCHREST. Your timing is perfect.
Mrs. MORELLA. Thank you.
I remember some time ago there was an article in the paper, ''FDA Consolidation Plan, it is Taj Mahal.'' I think it was Congressman Duncan who made that statement. So for Congressman Duncan I brought him a picture of the Taj Mahal that I actually took, which I will autograph for him.
Mrs. MORELLA. So that is not what we're addressing today.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, it is a pleasure to appear before you today to testify on the Food and Drug Administration proposed consolidation. I just want you to know, this is a consolidation that I have been involved with since 1989. This saga has gone on inch by inch.
As you are well aware, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, the FDA is currently scattered among 40 different buildings at 15 sites in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Many of the existing FDA facilities are old, in poor condition, over-crowded. It's been the topic of many newspaper reports with photographs of really dilapidated structures and, in fact, rodent-infested in some instances.
In addition, given their dispersed locations throughout the region, FDA experiences significant operational inefficiencies.
And to remedy this, Congress passed public law 101-635, the FDA Revitalization Act of 1990, which gave direction for the consolidation of the FDA headquarters components. Subsequent legislation has strengthened and further articulated Congress' intention to have the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and the office of the commissioner to be located in Montgomery County in Maryland.
I understand the concerns of those who call for FDA reform. I agree that FDA must continue to strive to be less burdensome in their regulatory requirements and should streamline their decision-making process. My Technology Subcommittee has held hearings on this, will continue to explore these issues.
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But if our goal is to have the FDA function more efficientlyand I think it isthen it makes more sense now than ever before to consolidate its functions.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I look forward to working with you in the future to ensure that this proposed consolidation is in the best interest of the Federal Government and that it takes into account its effect on the employees and on Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.
I don't need to go intoI have a file thatI have measured it. It is six inches high, packed very firmly with all of the papers that we went through in terms of the meetings that we had, the sign-off by President Bush on the consolidation, the agreement to have the two campuses, Prince George's County and Montgomery County. Prince George's County is moving ahead, so now it's Montgomery County. Time to move on for safety, for efficiency, for the cost factor, and to have this consolidation in Montgomery County.
I submit to you, Mr. Chairman, I hope you and the subcommittee will agree and will move this forward expeditiously.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Connie, for your testimony.
What we'rein the near futureI hope the very near futureI'm going to invite the subcommittee on a tour of existing FDA buildings.
Mrs. MORELLA. Great.
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Mr. GILCHREST. I'd like to see all of them, and a tour of the White Oak facility to see what future problems there might be with that facility if we move forward with the consolidation there, and any other potential site. So I'd like us to be very familiar with this issue, as I know you are, so that we make the right decision and we do it expeditiously.
Are there any questions for Mrs. Morella this morning? Ms. Norton?
Ms. NORTON. I don't have a question for Mrs. Morella, but I do want to say that this is a region that generally works well together. The entire region is dependent upon the Federal presence, and I hope that Montgomery and Prince George's and the rest of the region reciprocates in kind when matters like the SEC and the possibility
Ms. NORTON. The notion of taking an Agency that has always been located in the District of Columbia at a time when the District was insolvent was, in my judgment, a breach in the collegial cooperation that has characterized the Members of Congress in this region.
I have never tried to takeas needy as my city is, I have never tried to undo a matter that had been settled by this committee or tried to steal a Federal facility from outside the District, and I will not try to do so this time, but I hope that is implanted in everybody's brain and heart.
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Mrs. MORELLA. It is, indeed, Congresswoman Norton, and you and I have worked very closely on every issue. That particular situation with the SEC had to do with the landlord, had to do with an agreement that was not in force. It was a matter of integrity, but I would never take anything from the District of Columbia or move it into West Virginia or Maryland or
Mrs. MORELLA. Seriously, thatyou understand the background of that issue.
Mr. GILCHREST. Ms. Norton, you make some very valuable comments, and so does Mrs. Morella. Collegial cooperation is the foundation upon which we develop trust with one another, and if we have that, we have a great deal, so we'llthose were good words.
Mrs. MORELLA. And we exemplify that.
Mr. GILCHREST. Connie, thank you very much. Have a good day.
Mrs. MORELLA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILCHREST. If Mr. Lawson and Ms. Holston will come back, I think we'll have a few questions.
Mr. LAWSON. Mr. Chairman, may I ask
Mr. GILCHREST. Yes?
Mr. LAWSON. With your indulgence, I would like to invite up the project manager for the project, Jag Bhargava, if it's all right with you, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you. I will hold off on my questions right off, but I would ask Ms. Norton if you have any questions for Mr. Lawson, Ms. Holston?
Ms. NORTON. No, I don't have any questions at this time.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Duncan?
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Lawson, has the FDA downsized any in the number of employees in the last few years?
Mr. LAWSON. I believe so, sir, but I think it would be appropriate for FDA to comment.
Ms. HOLSTON. Yes, Mr. Duncan. For the last several years, under initiatives of the Clinton Administration to reinvent Government, we have reduced our staffing by somewhere between 2 and 2.5 percent a year.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Roughly how many employees would that be, do you think?
Ms. HOLSTON. I don't know, exactly.
Mr. Byrd, would you like to
Mr. BYRD. It's roughly about 300 to 350 employees.
Mr. DUNCAN. Last year when we got into this we were told that the square footage wasthe request for increase in square footage was going up from 2.1 million square feet toI think it was either 3.4 or 3.6 million square feet. If and when this is completed, which I'm sure it all will be, how many square feet will the FDA have in all of its facilities?
Mr. LAWSON. The
Mr. DUNCAN. What I'm getting at is that most people, when they talk about a consolidation in the private sector, they're talking about a decrease in square footage.
Mr. LAWSON. Well, we're pleased to
Mr. DUNCAN. But here we're talking about an increase, I believe.
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Mr. LAWSON. No, sir. Actually, the increase that we were looking for a year ago I believe was from 2.1 to 2.6. We're not looking at
Mr. DUNCAN. That's not the figures we were given. We were given either 3.4 or 3.6 million in all the FDA facilities put together.
Mr. LAWSON. All combined?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LAWSON. Okay. I'm speaking of the new development.
Mr. DUNCAN. Do you know how many square feet the FDA has in all of its facilities combined at this time?
Mr. LAWSON. TotalI don't have that number, but I can provide it for the record if you would permit me.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right.
[The information to be supplied follows:]
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LAWSON. But with regard to the new development, we expect this figure to drop from the anticipated 2.6 a year ago to 2.0. We're looking at about a 24 percent drop in the square footage.
Mr. DUNCAN. But that won'tI'm told that those figures that I just stated were right, that we have 2.1 million and the original request a couple of years ago was up to 3.4 or 3.6 million, but
Mr. LAWSON. I'll check our records, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, is it accurate that in the White Oak facility that when that's completed that will be 1.5 million square feet?
Mr. LAWSON. Square footage? Let's see. I think it's actually more like 1.9 million.
Mr. DUNCAN. That's 1.9?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. And counting all costs associated with that, how much will the total cost of that project be?
Mr. LAWSON. Approximately a little under $500 million$457 million for that total site.
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Mr. DUNCAN. We just heard a figure of, I think, $586 million. Where did that come from?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir. That includes the Prince George's County site, the development there.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, now which sites are you talking about? I understand that you're looking foryou have 80 percent complete an animal testing facility in Prince George's
Mr. LAWSON. Right.
Mr. DUNCAN.County that's 350,000 square feet. Are you counting that also?
Mr. LAWSON. That counts in the total budget for both campuses. Yes, sir. That counts in the 586 million.
Mr. DUNCAN. So what is the total cost of the animal testing facility?
Mr. LAWSON. The animal testing facility in Prince George's is 45 million.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. It's 45 million?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir. And then there is another 84 million for what we refer to as a CFSAN facilitythat's the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Mr. DUNCAN. The food safety or food testing facility, is that the College Park facility?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. And is that going to be approximately 350,000 square feet, also?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir. Well, that's 350. The CVM facility is 176,000 square feet
Mr. DUNCAN. Now, when you say CVM you're talking about Center for Veterinary Medicine?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. Now, will those three sites be the onlywill that be the entire FDA presence in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LAWSON. CVM, the CFSAN. Yes, sir, in Prince George's. That totals 129 million. If you add that to the 457 million, that's where you get the total budget of 586 million.
Mr. DUNCAN. And then what FDA facilitieswould you still have any presence in the District of Columbia? FDA presence or
Mr. LAWSON. I believe they're all out in Montgomery County and they'll stay out in Montgomery County.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right.
Mr. LAWSON. The third site.
Mr. DUNCAN. Now, as to the White Oak facility, I understand that there are hazardous materials facilities, or there is a fuel storage facility, a filling station, a fire station, explosive magazines, and there are other facilities containing asbestos, lead paint, and other hazardous materials.
You have requested $3 million in your fiscal year 1997 for remediation of hazardous materials; is that correct?
Mr. LAWSON. That's correct. The breakdown of the responsibility for hazardous materialsthe Navy, under BRAC, has the brunt of the responsibility to remove toxic and hazardous materials for the site, but those buildings that are on our portion of the site that we are considering for FDA, we have the responsibility for hazardous materials within those buildingsasbestos, PCB, lead abatement.
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The total budget for that hazardous abatement and demolition is $13 million. We have $10 million currently available for that, and we need an additional $3 million for that hazardous waste.
Mr. DUNCAN. Is that going to compete the cleanup? Is that going to be all that you're going to have to spend on that?
Mr. LAWSON. That's all we need. The Navy will fund approximately $22 million for their portion of it.
Mr. DUNCAN. Their part?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir, over the next 10 years.
Mr. DUNCAN. Okay. Thank you very much.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Duncan.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Other members can go ahead.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Mascara?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm new on this subcommittee, so you'll have to bear with me. Some of these questions might have been presented to you on a previous occasion.
But, as an accountant in my former life, I'm having a difficult time reconciling all these numbers.
From the information I have, the total square feet at one time, including the office space, was 3.6 million gross square feet. Is that correct?
Ms. HOLSTON. Yes, that's correct, at one point it was that.
Mr. MASCARA. Okay. And somehow we have a reduction, overall reduction, of 1.1 million?
Ms. HOLSTON. Yes. That's correct.
Mr. MASCARA. All right. The total cost, original cost, going back to 1990, I believe, was $887 million. Now, I read in Mr. Lawson's testimony there was a figure of 1.2 billion. So there is a lot of downsizing going on. There is a difference there, if you use Mr. Lawson's figures, of reduction of 614 million, and if you use the figures supplied to me by the subcommittee, we're talking about a reduction from 887 million to 586 million, which is a reduction of 301 million.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What has changed so drastically from 1990 to the current time that we could reduce the overall square footage and the cost reductions of either 614 million or 301 million without having a material effect on the project? I mean, how do you go in 5 years and reduce by that amount of money and square footage and still have a viable operation?
Mr. LAWSON. I canI would have to go back to the record on the reduction from the $1.2 billion, sir. That actually was the budget in 1990, and I believe in 1994 weactually, the budget has been on a roller coaster on this project, to be honest with you. It started at $1.2 billion. It was cut, just arbitrarily cut, before 1994, and then we settled on a budget of around, as you quoted, $890 million, or close to that.
From $890 million, which represented a programand I canit would be easier to show you on some boards how the program changed in concept, which then resulted in a net reduction in square footage, but I'll try to give you a short version of it.
The FDA, on their own initiative, changed their whole operating concept from a very decentralized one that had a lot of duplicated facilities for various centers around the campus, an expanded campus, to a very centralized one, which requires or calls for sharing of common use facilities such as labs, sharing of the animal research facility or animal housing facility, and resulted in a net cut in square footage, or that they are sacrificing some operational efficiency, just the scale on the order of magnitude of order one for centers. You're requiring nowwe're requiring centers to share lab facilities and joint use facilities.
That's what resulted in the biggest reduction, plus they have had this downsizing that has resulted in some reduction, so by concentrating the facilities in a more centralized operation, we netted a significant reduction in square footage.
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The other part of our plan is to design more generic labs and special use labs and try to cut on the cost of them.
That's basically how that number has been able to be cut.
Mr. MASCARA. So we have a reduction of approximately 300 to 350 employees that was not taken into consideration in the original numbers.
Mr. BYRD. That wasn't taken into consideration in the original numbers.
Mr. MASCARA. Should we expect further downsizing or restructuring of the FDA, which would necessitate further reductions in space required by the Agency?
You know, when you go from those large numbers down, I have to be suspect, and maybe even share with Mr. Duncan the Taj Mahal kind of thing. If we were at 1.2 billion and now we're at 586 million, something drastic had to happen to decrease the amount of square footage, gross square footage, and the cost.
Mr. BYRD. Let me just augment some of what Mr. Lawson said.
This project has been on a roller coaster, but in 1994, when we came up with the estimate of $890 million, that estimate was made based upon FDA expanding, and we were trying to anticipate our needs 5 years hence in 1994. We had anticipated a growth in FDA, so we were designing for that growth. When, in fact, it turned outa few things happened. One, we were required to downsize as a result of the cuts across the Federal Government, which meant that our number of employees was downsizing. Also, our projections were not projections of growth, but projections of going down.
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So we had those two combinations that caused things to happen. It wasn't just our going back and scrubbing the numbers. There were actual things that were going on in Government that caused us to change our direction.
Mr. MASCARA. Do you have any idea what the cost per square foot is under the latest numbers, the current numbers?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir. The office building components we're estimating at about $100 a square foot, the lab facilities approximately $225 a square foot, which are industry standards for this type of facility.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no further questions.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Mascara.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think it's very important to have this hearing to provide oversight on this project, which actually was initiated through the appropriation process and, in a sense, to that extent, at least, it bypassed our committee and it's time for a very thorough review.
I'd like to just inquire, Mr Lawson, the construction costs from consolidation of the FDA housing you say are being reduced from the original estimate of $1.2 billion to a $586 million target. What happens? What missions are lost in this consolidation? What effect on operations is there going to be from the consolidation from the reduction of cost by almost half?
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Mr. LAWSON. My understandingand I think the deputy could comment much betterthere aren't any missions really lost. I think that, to reiterate the earlier point, the 1990 projections were based on a dramatic growth, and that curve has since gone down and we've changed the whole concept of the operation. I don't think it's
Mr. OBERSTAR. The original $1.2 billion was based on FDA. Now, obviously GSA is carrying FDA's water here. I understand.
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. OBERSTAR. So it was an FDA estimate of significant growth in operations?
Mr. LAWSON. Our estimate based on their growth projections, but I think it would be appropriate for
Ms. HOLSTON. Congressman, what we had to do was take into consideration the historical trend as far as the Agency was concerned, and the numbers indicated that FDA had continued to grow consistently at the rate somewhere between 4 and 5 percent a year for several years, and so trying to anticipate what our needs would be into thewell into the next century, we tried to plan for a facility that could accommodate an Agency that was growing.
However, as Mr. Byrd indicated, things have changed all across Government and we now know that that is not the future that the Agency faces, and therefore we were able to look at those projections, to reduce them, to reduce the size and the scope of the project, taking into consideration that we were now looking more at a future that included downsizing and streamlining.
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In the previous projections, we had anticipated a campus that would occupy somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 acres, with laboratory buildings at a height of no more than three stories. When we saw that that was not the way that we would be able to go, we began to look at ways, one, to make a much more compact, a denser facility, as well as to raise the height of some of the laboratory facilities.
And so all of those things taken into consideration have helped to reduce the overall cost and scope of the project.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I was concerned about one of two things: that there are some missions that are going to be squeezed out because of the force of consolidations or, two, that there was a gross excess capacity built into the original estimate of it. But if thoseI think you've answered adequately.
You also talked about moving the Center for Veterinary Medicine. Is that going to be consolidated with this facility?
Ms. HOLSTON. The Center for Veterinary Medicine will have laboratory facilities in Beltsville, Maryland, on land that is already owned by the Food and Drug Administration, and that's the laboratory facility under construction, and we expect it to be completed in October 1996.
However, their office facilities are located in different office buildings in Montgomery County, and they will be relocated to the facility somewhere in College Park when that facility is constructed, and they will be co-located with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
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Mr. OBERSTAR. Couldn't the office portion be consolidated with the FDA Beltsville location?
Ms. HOLSTON. Unfortunately, that site does not have enough land to accommodate additional construction, and also, because of some of the previous agreements with the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, there was a ceiling put on how many employees would be relocated to that site for reasons of traffic and other environmental concerns.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Yes. There may be other questions, but I think, Mr. Chairman, in the interest of expediting the hearing, we should proceed.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much for your responses.
Mr. GILCHREST. Just a couple of quick, quick questions.
The estimate of $13 million to clean up the White Oak site, that'sis that a pretty solid estimate? Where did that come from?
Mr. LAWSON. That is $13.4 for cleanup and demolition. We have approximately, I think, eight buildings that are planned for demolition, and it's an accurate budget estimate.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILCHREST. And how many buildings are located on the White Oak site? Will the entire White Oak site be transferred to GSA?
Mr. LAWSON. No, sir. There is a map here, if I could show you. This is the entire White Oak site, and this blue portion is the portion that FDA will take over. The Air Force will get a component here and the Army a component here. Some of this land is, of course, staying as green space, and some is undevelopable.
But this is sufficient land for FDA. There are 8 existing buildings.
Mr. GILCHREST. How many buildings?
Mr. LAWSON. Existing buildings, eight. And we're studying an
Mr. GILCHREST. So the entire consolidation that was going to be on the Route 270 corridor is now being transferred to this section of White Oak?
Mr. LAWSON. The consolidation is still planned for two sites, here and one in Prince George's. The same program that was planned for Montgomery County on the Route 270 site is planned here, but if you look at how they are consolidatinglet me show you
Mr. GILCHREST. So the site that was going to be along the Route 270 corridor that's now going to White Oak, the Route 270 corridor, I guess that was in the beginning ofbefore the downsizing occurred, before the whole concept changed?
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Mr. LAWSON. Yes.
Mr. GILCHREST. So now you can relocate or you can locate on the White Oak site with a much smaller version of what was going to be on the Route 270 corridor?
Mr. LAWSON. Precisely. This is kind of a concept of what was anticipated on Route 270. You can see it's a decentralized concept where each center had its own self-supporting unit.
When you consolidate it and centralize it, much of the offices, labs are going to be shared by these units.
Mr. GILCHREST. I see.
Mr. LAWSON. And this requires just a smaller land mass.
Mr. GILCHREST. Will there be any new construction, or will you go into basically new or reconfigured buildings?
Mr. LAWSON. Most of this will be new construction.
Mr. GILCHREST. Construction.
Mr. LAWSON. There is one buildingan administrationa current administration building on the FDA site that's located here that's being evaluated for possible retention. This is the main entrance. It's a fairly handsome structure that may serve office capacity. And it's in our plan, our current overall budget, to save that building.
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Mr. GILCHREST. So the rest of the area that is now known as White Oak, which we see up there, will be retained other than the blue section, basically by one or another branch of the military?
Mr. LAWSON. Of the Services. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. So then GSA or FDA doesn't get access, or if youyou don't get access to the golf course?
Mr. LAWSON. Actually, we do get the golf course. I wouldn't keep any of the golf balls from the golf course.
Mr. GILCHREST. If you could, that might have been a revenue generator.
Mr. LAWSON. Well, we've given it some thought.
Mr. GILCHREST. I'm just curious. The estimate to clean up the hazardous material and demolition for about eight buildings
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILCHREST.is estimated to be $13 million?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, $13 million.
Mr. GILCHREST. That's an estimate from a contractor?
Mr. LAWSON. No, sir. That's just our budget estimate at this point. I mean, hopefully we can bring that number down. We still are doing an environmental analysis here, and that will tell us a lot more.
Mr. GILCHREST. But the Navy will deal with any toxic material in the ground?
Mr. LAWSON. On the grounds and around the site.
Mr. GILCHREST. Where will the demolition material be? Is thatI would assume that's part of the estimated $13 million where the hazardous material will be transferred to.
Mr. LAWSON. It has to be transferred to an environmentally protected site.
Mr. GILCHREST. Do you know where that is?
Mr. LAWSON. That's usually a big expense. Yes.
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Mr. GILCHREST. But that's already calculated into the $13 million?
Mr. LAWSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. I see. We have a few other questions, but unless there are other comments from Mr. Lawson or Ms. Holston we would like toI mentioned earlier, Mr. Oberstar, I would really like to tour as many of the existing FDA facilities and then the new White Oak facility so we can get a pretty good handle on how all this is going.
But thank you very much for coming to testify this morning, Ms. Holston and Mr. Lawson.
We'll submit questions for the record and mail those to you in the next couple of days.
Mr. LAWSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The questions and answers thereto follow:]
Mr. GILCHREST. Our next panel will be Mr. Bruce Romer, chief administrative officer of Montgomery County, Maryland; Ms. Lydia Verheggen, Citizens for a Sound Economy; and Dr. Bernard Berne, who is down here as a private citizensomething we all would like to emulate.
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Mr. Romer, good morning. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF BRUCE ROMER, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND; LYDIA S. VERHEGGEN, DIRECTOR, HEALTH CARE POLICY, CITIZENS FOR A SOUND ECONOMY; AND DR. BERNARD BERNE, PRIVATE CITIZEN
Mr. ROMER. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Bruce Romer.
As the chief administrative officer from Montgomery County, Maryland, I appreciate the opportunity to testify this morning on behalf of the county, also on behalf of our county executive, Doug Duncan, and the White Oak Local Redevelopment Authority. This is the bi-county agency established to plan for the reuse of the Naval Surface Warfare Center at White Oak, Maryland.
As you know, Montgomery County is the current home of the Food and Drug Administration, and I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you that we'd like to keep it that way. Of course, we have no illusion that the decision about FDA's future will be based solely, or even primarily, on Montgomery County's preferences, but clearly your primary goals should be to determine what's best for the FDA, what is least disruptive in the short term and most efficient in the long term.
That's not to say that there should be no consideration of the effect on local communities, and I'll be glad to tell you about the impact on Montgomery County of the consolidation of FDA activities at White Oak.
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Recognizing your focus, I'd like to first briefly discuss how consolidation at White Oak makes the best sense for the FDA.
In numerous reports and testimony before Congress, the FDA has demonstrated the increased efficiencies that are created by consolidation into a single integrated campus. For a number of reasons, White Oak is the ideal location for such consolidation.
Point number one: consolidation at White Oak is economically efficient. While there will be initial costs associated with facility rehabilitation, the use of existing Federal property will ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars in rent each year.
Right now the Federal Government pays about $30 million a year to lease space for FDA offices that would be consolidated at White Oak.
Number two: it will cause the least disruption in FDA operations. FDA's new facility will have to be built in stages, with various functions transferred over time. This means that for a number of years there will be commuting between the old and the new facilities. White Oak is located just a few miles from both the current cluster of FDA offices and the Prince George's County sites at which other FDA offices are slated to be. White Oak's central and close-by location will minimize time spent on unavoidable travel between facilities.
Point number three: it will minimize the burden on FDA employees. As Congressman Wynn said earlier, 80 percent of the almost 6,000 FDA employees whose jobs would be relocated to White Oak currently work in Montgomery County. For them, White Oak is the most convenient choice and would cause the least dislocation and will allow them to continue to do their jobs with minimum disruption to FDA's operations.
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Point number four: it allows the FDA to work with a willing partner that is committed to doing all it can to make this work for the FDA.
Last year Montgomery County and Prince George's Counties formed a local redevelopment authority that has been diligently addressing transportation and environmental issues that may arise.
We remain committed to doing what it takes to facilitate the use of White Oak.
We believe that the case for consolidation at White Oak is compelling from the FDA's point of view. I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't also touch on why this is so important to Montgomery County.
The FDA is an integral part of our local economy. It employs thousands of people and occupies more than 1.2 million square feet of leased space in over 40 buildings in our mid-county region. Moreover, the proximity to FDA is partly responsible for the high concentration of biotechnology companies in our county, mostly along the I270 corridor. These companies occupy an additional 2.5 million square feet of office and laboratory space, and employ more than 6,500 people.
I'd like to publicly state also to the committee that the Federal agencies involvedGSA, FDA, and the Department of Defensehave been very responsive and cooperative. GSA and FDA have been very sensitive to approach the issue of FDA consolidation in a cost-efficient manner. I believe that the FDA consolidation is being handled very responsibly at the Federal level.
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Moreover, solving the need for FDA consolidation in a manner that also addresses the consequences of a military base closure provides quite a unique opportunity for efficiencies that benefit the taxpayer. We urge the Congress to take advantage of that unique opportunity. It truly is a win/win situation for the taxpayer, for the Federal Government, and certainly for our local economy.
I appreciate your time and attention.
Mr. GILCHREST. Yes, sir, Mr. Romer. Thank you.
Ms. VERHEGGEN. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. My name is Lydia Verheggen and I'm director of health care policy for Citizens for a Sound Economy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization founded in 1984.
We develop and advocate market-based solutions to public policy problems and boast 250,000 members in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.
I am grateful for the opportunity to testify before you today on behalf of those members, and as the morning is growing late I will try to be brief.
This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the General Services Administration, which is the agency that is clearly responsible for upgrading the Food and Drug Administration's facilities in the Washington, D.C. area. This project, as described by GSA and FDA, is a consolidation of FDA's existing facilities in that area into two new facilitiesI believe it's two. I'm not clear, after this morning, if it's two or three, but I'm trying.
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One site is to be located in Prince George's County and the second is yet to be determined. This building upgrade had traveled on a funding roller coaster since the authorization statute passed in 1990.
Initially, the White House estimated the total cost of the project to be $300 million, I believe. The estimates then climbed to $500 million and on to $1.2 billion, then inexplicably the figures plummeted to $800 million and then back down to $600 million.
As you recall, last year the House voted to rescind 228 million in funding for the Montgomery County facility, leavingI believe it's $14 million, although I'm not sure after this morningfor the project for site and design.
It now appears this money will be used to draw up plans for the acquisition of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak, Maryland, for the Montgomery County facility.
The FDA maintains that its employees will be more efficient and productive if housed in two, maybe three, facilities in Maryland rather than several throughout the area.
Despite the fact the FDA has not formally requested additional resources for this upgrade, the so-called ''consolidation effort'' continues. Spending this remaining money to further the misconception that FDA's inefficiencies will be eliminated by the acquisition of two, three larger facilities is not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm not here to debate the condition of FDA's facilities nor the condition of the buildings the Government is currently renting for the FDA. I'm just here to outline a few reasons why Citizens for a Sound Economy, on behalf of its members, is opposed to continuing the project at this time.
While my written testimony provides further reasons, I'll be brief.
As we speak, both houses of Congress are engaged in redefining FDA's mission and reducing its role in the marketplace. Throughout the legislative process the FDA has been criticized heavily for excessive delays in new drug approvals, medical device applications, and other product approvals, while launching new regulatory initiatives that have little to do with timely and efficient product approval.
Against this backdrop, it simply makes little sense for the FDA to embark on a construction or acquisition of a new campus. Authorizing committees in both the House and Senate are deeply committed to bipartisan FDA reform and a plan to enact legislation this year.
These proposals contain mechanisms that would lessen FDA's role in the approval process, as well as define the agency's core mission, to prevent the agency from straying from Congressional intent.
Acquiring 130 acres of land, I believe, public or private, for the purpose of a consolidated campus of this magnitude would be short-sighted, especially since the future of FDA is being reconsidered by the Congress right now.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Specifically, this committee, as I said, has jurisdiction over the Public Buildings Act. No public building under this act shall be constructed except by the administrator of the General Services Administration, and the maximum cost of any project must be set forth in a prospectus. Unfortunately, the authorizing and appropriations committees have often exempted specific buildings in their jurisdiction from the Public Buildings Act of 1959.
Citizens for a Sound Economy believes that those requirements outlined in that public lawwhich was misstated in my testimonyas well as the authority of this subcommittee are legitimate and should not be circumvented.
With respect to the FDA, this subcommittee has authority to require that GSA follow the distinct requirements of p.l. 86-259, the Public Buildings Act of 1959. If this subcommittee does not exercise its authority over GSA, other committees will continue to disregard the authority of this subcommittee, which serves as a valuable check on the building of new Government facilities.
In this time of Government streamlining, downsizing, reorganization, reinventing Government, this Congress should not permit the GSA or the FDA to continue with current consolidation plans. The money designated for consideration of site locations should not be continued to be used until the Congress has enacted FDA reform legislation.
This subcommittee can ensure that the GSA does not consider further the campus plans. Your authority over GSA and the Federal buildings prospectus will not only save taxpayer monies in the short term, but over the long term, as well.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I will be happy to answer whatever questions you may have.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Ms. Verheggen.
Dr. BERNE. I thank you for allowing me this opportunity to submit my testimony.
I'm a resident of Arlington, Virginia. I serve FDA as a medical officer who reviews medical device approval applications. I'm testifying as a private individual.
I thank Congress for rescinding much of the funding for FDA's elaborate Montgomery County consolidation, which FDA planned to build in Clarksburg. Clarksburg was a poor location for a Federal agency headquarters. Congressman Duncan's leadership in preventing this gross misuse of Federal funds is especially praiseworthy.
GSA now intends to consolidate most of FDA at White Oak in Montgomery County; however, White Oak is actually no better than Clarksburg, no matter what these people are telling you.
Metrorail is three miles away. This will be a hardship for meI take public transportationand for many FDA employees. Buses run very infrequently from the Metro station, only once every half hour. It's doubtful, because of the constraints on Federal funds, that a shuttle would be very frequent. This is a disaster. I will probably end up bike riding up Colesville Road blocking up traffic at rush hour. The nearby roads and highways are congested.
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FDA and GSA are actually building a country club at White Oak in White Oak's affluent suburbs. This is a rich area. It has a $65,000 annual median household income.
Adjacent Federal property will contain a golf course and a woodlands. It's not part of that 130 acres, but it's right next to it. They could build on that site.
Congress must stop this immediately. Because of 1995 rescissions, the Southeast Federal Center in downtown Washington, D.C., is now available for a major Federal headquarters. This, and not White Oak, is the ideal site for the FDA consolidation, and you all should consider this.
I know we talked about how Ms. Norton doesn't want to steal facilities, but this is the best place
Mr. GILCHREST. Where's that site again?
Dr. BERNE. Southeast Federal Center at the Washington Navy Yard right there at the Washington Navy Yard Metro Station. It is something which GSA has been looking for for years. It was once part of the old Navy Yard. It has been slated for Federal development for many years, and nothing is being built there. The money was rescinded last year for even the cleanup of the site. So this is now available.
Previously there was money appropriated. That was all rescinded except for a little bit, so this is now available for FDA's consolidation. It's right at the Navy Yard Metro Station. The National Capital Planning Commission has identified it as a site for future development to enhance the waterfront. The idea is to make it part of an attractive waterfront.
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The area is a depressed commercial area where revitalization is badly needed, like much of Southeast D.C. This is where Federal money should be spent. This is where you will do the most good.
The Southeast Federal Center is adjacent to the Navy Yard Metro Station. It's only a mile from the Capitol and from the Department of Health and Human Services. It's only three stops away from stations in Maryland and Virginia. It's on the Green line. It's right there.
Unlike White Oak, Southeast D.C. urgently needs redevelopment. FDA can revitalize a decaying commercial area that is not far from the Capitol Building.
The Southeast Federal Center may not have 130 acres and a golf course, but FDA doesn't need 130 acres and a golf course. FDA can occupy tall buildings on a small site. The Southeast Federal Center can accommodate buildings that are 14 stories high, unlike the presently planned ones, which are only six stories.
In 1980, NIH, the National Institutes of Health, built a laboratory building that has 14 stories. FDA can easily do the same at the Southeast Federal Center.
President Carter's Executive Order number 12072 and GSA's own regulations require that FDA give the Southeast Federal Center or any site in the central city of the urban area a preference over the White Oak site or any site in Montgomery County. Now, this is an Executive Order.
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I'm a FDA employee. I plan to sue if they don't give it first consideration. I'm not saying it has to go there, but they must give it first consideration according to that Executive Order.
GSA has been ignoring this in the Washington area for years, and this is why jobs are leaving D.C., because GSA is ignoring an Executive Order.
They pulled me personally out of Silver SpringI was right near the Metro stationand put me now into a facility which is near I270. It's very hard to get to now except if I drive. I don't want to drive.
So basically GSA has long ignored the Executive Order, and you really have to look at that Executive Order, for those of you who know about it, because it applies in the Washington area.
As I say, they've gone through a lot of planning processes and a lot of waste of Federal money, and a court is going to say you must give this first consideration.
The courts have applied this Executive Order in Reading, Pennsylvania, and New Orleans, Louisiana, so the precedent is there. They've reversed GSA decisions.
I therefore ask your committee to take the further following actions:
One, please oppose any appropriations of funds for GSA to decontaminate, prepare, or acquire any site for any part of the FDA consolidation until your committee has approved a prospectus for the entire consolidation in accordance with the provisions of the Public Buildings Act of 1959.
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Section seven of the Public Buildings Act requires your committeeit is a requirementto ensure the equitable distribution of buildings throughout the United Statesthis is what it saysby approving only those prospectuses that are consistent with this goal.
Since 1969, D.C. has lost 21,000 Federal employees while the Washington's Maryland suburbs have gained over 10,000 Federal employees. So we know where these are going. Some are going to Virginia, too, of course.
Last year Congress ordered FDA to transfer 800 employees from D.C. in the Food Center to a facility in Prince George's County, Maryland, so that's an additional 800 Federal employees leaving D.C., and those people aremany of them are working right near this building, actually.
Your committee should correct this growing disparity by directing any additional facilities, including a major one, to a site in D.C. This is not a question of being nice to D.C. or nice to Maryland, this is a question of how we revitalize D.C., and you do this by reversing this process which is ongoing. Otherwise, it keeps on going and D.C. keeps on decaying and the Federal Government ends up bailing it out.
Your committee should also approve only prospectuses which make financial sense. FDA doesn't need a 130-acre campus in an expensive suburb, it doesn't need a golf course right next to it, and it doesn't need a visitors' center, but it's in there. Indeed, it probably doesn't need the whole facility, because many of the FDA facilities that are in bad buildingsactually, most that are in the old buildings are going to Prince George's County. Most of the ones going to the Montgomery County facility are really quite good.
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I am in a beautiful building. It looks like it was built about 10 years ago. It has palm trees in it. I'm in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health in an office buildings. I have a beautiful view of the Montgomery County countryside. It's up near I270 at Shady Grove Road.
The whole CDRH office complex is in similar buildings. We moved there recently. They are beautiful. It used to be operated by IBM. IBM then left it. So we're in an old IBM Building, which is a new one. IBM doesn't fool around.
So, many of us are in good facilities. A major facility which is near the Twinbrook Metro Station is in the Parklawn Building, it's not that bad. I mean, it's certainly not run down; you wouldn't say it's dilapidated. It's somewhat over-crowded, but that can be remedied by leasing additional facilities.
Most importantly, the Parklawn Building is right near the Twinbrook Metro station. They're going to be taking a lot of people off Metro if they're going to White Oak, and this is going to obviously affect the transportation system, it's going to be a loss of revenue to Metro. This is not the way we do urban planning.
Now, although legislation authorized the consolidation, FDA does not need to consolidate while Congress is trying to balance the budget. Remember that the last year's budget resolution said that there should be a 30 percent decrease in Federal buildings appropriations, so you're supposed to be facing a 30 percent reduction.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The FDA's existing facilities in most cases, certainly its office facilities, are quite adequate for its current needs, especially the ones in that are going to Montgomery County. I'm not talking about the onesremember, the bad ones are the ones that are going to PG County. That's actually in the environmental impact statement, and it's also in the committee report for original authorizing legislation, which only cited the food center as being in poor facilities.
So remember that we're not talking about the centers that need consolidation.
Mr. GILCHREST. Dr. Berne, your 5 minutes has expired.
Dr. BERNE. Okay. I just want to say a few other things.
Please, you need a prospectus. The authorizing legislation does not exempt you from a prospectus requirement. This is how it should go on, and perhaps with a prospectus we'd have more chance to discuss it. And also a prospectus would insyre equitable distribution of the facilities. You need equitable distribution because that's the real purpose of a prospectus.
And you should also ask GSA to comply with the Executive Order. That's very important all over the country.
And I would say also the way to do this properly is to rescind the money remaining for the Montgomery County consolidation, that's $14 million. I think there may be $7 million left for it, for the planning. And then apply $5 million of that to a study of the Southeast Federal Center and its neighborhood or some other place in downtown D.C.
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Really, to have a site like this available for development is really fortunate. It would be a crime to put FDA in White Oak. Montgomery County may need economic development, but D.C., needs it a lot more.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much. Very enticing testimony.
Ms. Norton, any questions?
Ms. NORTON. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to say, first to Mr. Romer, what I said to the representatives from Maryland, because Mr. Duncan was unusually aggressive in trying to get the SEC from the District, and I thought it was an inauspicious way for the new county executive to become a part of the public official family of this region, and I hope you will convey to him that one of the reasons we try to act cooperatively as a region is what goes around comes around.
Mr. Berne, obviously it would be particularly enticing to me to try to keep the FDA here. This matter did bypass this committee. This doesn't happen any more, but it is outrageous that the matter originated in the Appropriation Committee and did not originate here. On the other hand, it has proceeded now for years, and I have to tell you, I don't think that the Southeast Federal Center, much as I would like to have this facility, is in any better shape than Montgomery County and the White Oak site is.
Both sites essentially are embroiled in rescissions from the Congress, and one of the reasons why you have this see-saw in how much will be allotted has not to do with the fact that the FDA sat down and said, ''Why don't we do it this way rather than that way?''
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It really has to do with rather irrational, budget-driven approaches to these facilities, so that if there have been rescissions that have affected the FDA or White Oak site, or what is now the White Oak site, the very same situation obtains in the Southeast Federal Center, so much so that, although it is barely alive but not kicking in the budget, we are looking for other ways than direct appropriations, frankly, to make that site go.
I don't think we'd have much better luck saying to the Congress, who won't appropriate enough money to go much further at White Oak, you'll appropriate it if it's at the Southeast Federal Center, so I'm not sure that your suggestion is particularly realistic.
Both sites are Government-owned land, and that is very important in both cases. There are plans for how to use the Southeast Federal Center and I certainly intend to see that those plans are carried out one way or the other.
Ms. Verheggen, I was not entirely clear as to the relationship between your testimony and the future of this site as a site. You say that your organization develops advocatethe testimony indicates that your organization develop and advocate market-based solutions to public policy problems. What do you see as the public policy problem in the consolidation of the FDA as it is now envisioned?
Ms. VERHEGGEN. It's more a public policy problem with the FDA, itself, and so with that interest at heart we have taken an active role in FDA reform, as have both members of the democratic and republican parties in both the House and the Senate.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And as we see that move forwardI believe Congressman Mascara alluded to this earlierthe FDA has indicated that they have 300 FTEs, I guess, that were decreased, and we anticipate that further decreases will come about from the FDA reform legislation, and it's not necessarily the wisest of all decisions to move forward on a new campus under the premise that we have not enough space or that the space is dilapidated or whatever the reasons may be if, in fact, the future may hold a smaller FDA or a more streamlined FDA.
Ms. NORTON. Of course, the testimony indicated that over and over again FDA has changed its plans because it anticipates a smaller FDA, so it would appear that what you are after is already in progress.
Ms. VERHEGGEN. They indicated that through reinventing Government they have consolidated, but I don't think anybody has anticipated what the reforms will do. In fact, the FDA is working very hard to see that those reforms don't take place this Congress.
So I don't know that they are actually anticipating reforms from Senator Kassebaum's and the Members interpretation House's bills.
Ms. NORTON. If not, if there is some relationship between those reforms and the size of the project as envisioned, we ought to see what those relationships are, and I don't see now those relationships or that those relationships are out of kilter with one another, and that's a problem I have here.
Even though the Government is downsizing, the greater mistake that the Government makes is not to envision that there may need to be some extra room some time, somehow, in the future, and that is why you have the situation in the District of Columbia and throughout the region that there are sites very inefficiently placed all over a particular city or region, because the Government didn't have the foresight to understand that this is a dynamic process and that people may need some other configuration or need more space.
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So, if anything, I think there is some indication that the original proposal, perhaps because it didn't come through the prospectus process here, was much too elaborate, and looks as though it was forced down by economic conditions and events here in the Congress.
I think, if anything, we have to watch out that, since all of these matters are budget-driven now, are not driven by a more rational process that says, ''Hey, that's too big.'' Look at the reforms, as you say. Look at the number of employees we're likely to have. Come to a conclusion as to what those are and then say there may be some need for expansion and how much more space will we need, and it probably won't be as much as we would have needed in another kind of world, and then you get to a figure.
The way we've gotten to this figure, nobody ought to misunderstand. You're given a number and essentially you redesign your buildings around that number, and in that way I think that you probably want to declare a victory and go home. I think you've won. You may not have won the way you wanted to win, but it does seem to me you've won if you're interested that the project be consistently downsized to fit reforms and the downsizing of the Government, itself.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Ms. Norton.
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Mr. LATOURETTE. I have no questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Oberstar?
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses for being here, for your splendid presentation.
Mr. Romer, one of the problems of Montgomery County and all of the Washington area suburbs is traffic, and our first name in this committee is ''Transportation.'' Montgomery County has in place an ordinance or county rule, requirement of developers that they provide first for access for development for the traffic, to accommodate the traffic that will be generated by development. It's not always enforced. In some cases you do a good job; in other cases it's rather lax, or at least has been in the past.
We're going to see 6,000 people moving from some other place in Montgomery County to this new location. What plans are in place to accommodate the increased traffic at White Oak which doesn't have Metro? Maybe it has bus access. It certainly doesn't have Metro. What plans are in place to accommodate traffic and what study has been done already of the impact on the neighborhood of that increased traffic?
Mr. ROMER. Excellent area. I'd be happy to respond to that.
There is an awful lot going on, all under the auspices of the local redevelopment authority that I talked about, and let me try to hit a couple of the high points.
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We've determined that, given, of course, the fact that this has already historically been an employment and activity centerand we need to start from that understanding.
Mr. OBERSTAR. How many people did the Navy have there?
Mr. ROMER. I'm not able to answer that. I know it was a substantial presence at White Oak over a long period of time. And so we're dealing with an increment here.
It has been determined through the work already done by the local redevelopment authority that the contemplated development will fit within the envelope that we have to deal with.
We have subcommittees of the LRA that are finalizing plans at this moment to reveal how we will be able to handle the traffic or the increase in it. Let me talk a little bit about that.
The public transportation areain Montgomery County we take great pride in a rather substantial public transportation network, and I would envision that, although it has been pointed out that existing bus service in the area may be limited, that we have the capability to expand that through our ride-on bus system to serve the Silver Spring Metro Station, and that, indeed, is already being contemplated as part of they plan to accommodate the FDA presence at White Oak.
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Mr. OBERSTAR. Assuming the people who now work at the existing FDA facilities are not going to sell their homes and move in close to where they will be working, you're going to have pressure on the I270 corridor, you're going to have pressure on 495, you're going to have pressure on the side streets. Six thousand people is a big bunch.
Mr. ROMER. That's right, who are moving around
Mr. OBERSTAR. It's bigger than the town where I live in Minnesota.
Mr. ROMER. Who are
Mr. OBERSTAR. Not all of them have cars.
Mr. ROMER. That's right. We are extremely sensitive to that. I can assure you that the determination has been made that the capacity can beis either there or can be added to support the
Mr. OBERSTAR. Do you have some traffic studies that show this?
Mr. ROMER. I'd be happy to provide them to you.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Could you submit them to the committee?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROMER. Absolutely. I'd be happy to provide you with information.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Please do that.
Ms. Verheggen, your testimony refers to the clean-up, and rightfully so. You say the estimate is only what is needed to bring the site up to Navy standards, not community standards. Could you delineate the difference between those two?
Ms. VERHEGGEN. Well, I don't
Mr. OBERSTAR. What are Navy standards? What are community standards?
Ms. VERHEGGEN. Well, I don't profess to be an expert on this. I'm really quoting from the environmental impact statements that I've seen around and the news reports that I've seen, and I believe that $22 million is the money that the Navy has provided, and obviously GSA can correct me if I'm wrong, but the Navy has provided for their part of the clean-up. Then I believe we heard the $13 million from GSA would be their portion of the clean-up, which is the first time I'd ever heard that figure.
So while my written testimony referred to the $22 million, I believe now I can amend my testimony and say there is now an additional $13 million.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, we all know that contamination of a site can be a serious impediment, but if you have uncovered something, I thought maybe your research had uncovered some very serious, significant impediment, that there may be two kinds of standards we're talking about. Do you want to supplement your testimony with that?
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Ms. VERHEGGEN. I believe there are, although, as I say, I am not specifically an expert on the different types of standards, and I believe that part of the site has different types of chemical weapons, warfare materials on it. And I've now understood from this morning's testimony that they won't be using that part of the site and they'll only be using the certain blue section of the site, so I guess the 22 million is for the part that's green and it looks like the 13 million is for the part that's blue.
Mr. OBERSTAR. You also state the mission of your organization as one to develop and advocate market-based solutions to public policy problems. What are the public policy issues involved here in this consolidation?
Ms. VERHEGGEN. Public policy issues, as Congressman Norton just discussed with me briefly, the issue of FDA reform, itself, not necessarily the campus as a public policy problem, but the reform of the agency, which has incredible momentum in both the House and the Senate, bipartisan support, and I think that with that as a backdrop it is important to keep that in mind as we move forward on a consolidation of the agency that is undergoing major reform.
Mr. OBERSTAR. You see some merit in the preceding testimony about the downsizing from $1.2 billion to $586 million? Is that within the public policy objectives that your organization studies?
Ms. VERHEGGEN. I think Congressman Norton indicated that that was driven, as she said, by budget desires as opposed to necessarily real reform, and I think
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Mr. OBERSTAR. No. The previous testimony said that there$1.2 billion, in response to my question, $1.2 billion was based on a projected growth of the Agency and growth of its missions. That growth is no longer in sight and the missions are no longer present, and therefore the project has been scaled back.
Ms. VERHEGGEN. I would merely
Mr. OBERSTAR. Is that a public policy consideration?
Ms. VERHEGGEN. It is a public policy consideration. I would merely submit that the FDA's fighting very, very strongly to oppose the efforts of reform in both the House and the Senate, and I don't believe that they were taken into consideration when they came up with the new figures.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.
We have a vote on right now. I'll make a quick comment just for thanking you three for coming here this morning.
We'll recess and vote and be back in about 15 minutes. We'll finish the last testimony and then we'll go on with the markup.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Each of you here this morning has given us some serious arguments defending your position, and it certainly is our position to take all of your considerations into serious perspective, which we will do.
Mr. Romer, you made some very good points for consolidation into Montgomery County at White Oak. It certainly is more cost effective to own a building as opposed to lease the building.
Dr. Berne, you gave us someyou challenged us to consider equitable distribution of the taxpayers' dollars where we locate facilities, and we will take that into consideration.
And Ms. Verheggen, you just told us to protect the taxpayers' money, which we have to do, but we also have to consider to protect the Nation's and the citizens' health in regards to the Food and Drug Administration's responsibilities. They are downsizing. We're trying to figure out the best way for us to go, and so your testimony was valuable for us this morning and we will continue to consider it.
Thank you very much for coming.
We will recess for about 15 minutes.
Mr. GILCHREST. The subcommittee will come to order.
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The next panel of witnesses: Mike Levin from Hillandale Citizen's Association and Betsy Bretz, LABQUEST '96.
Is Ms. Bretz here?
Okay. We'll just hold for a couple of seconds.
Ms. Bretz, thank you for coming. Thank you for coming this morning to give us your testimony. Mr. Levin, you may begin.
TESTIMONY OF M.J. ''MIKE'' LEVIN, HILLANDALE CITIZEN'S ASSOCIATION; AND BETSY BRETZ, CHAIRPERSON, LABQUEST '96
Mr. LEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, such as are here.
A moment for my bona fides. I'm a Federal retiree with 50 years of Federal service, four of which were as an artillery officer during World War II, but, in addition to that, I've devoted some 37 years pro bono to the community, most recently and currently as a member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee for the White Oak Master Plan, and also I'm a member of the White Oak Local Redevelopment Authority and I'm chairman of the Transportation Committee of the LRA.
The Hillandale community is an immediate neighbor of the Naval Surface Warfare Center to the south and to the west. Since 1943 this community has lived in harmony with the Navy laboratory which, when established, was laid out with buffers or setbacks. The buffers were established to protect the residential community from what is essentially an industrial use, and to protect the laboratory from electronic or other interference.
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Throughout these yearsI'm going to address this buffer that has been referred to as a golf course a little bit later again.
Throughout these years we've had excellent relations with the lab. They've performed an important national security function and were an important part of the Montgomery County economy.
In 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission moved to consolidate the Naval Surface Warfare Center elsewhere and to move the Naval Sea Systems Command to White Oak. The community immediately got together to welcome NAVSEA to our area. And then in 1995 the BRAC confounded us again by closing the NSWC completely. This, despite the fact that this meant abandoning certain costly facilities, including, one, the hypersonic wind tunnel that the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili, said was needed to satisfy critical national defense requirements.
I understand that the facility will continue under the GSA plan under a lease arrangement with GSA, and there is no conflict there with the FDA's consolidation.
The General Services Administration has developed what we believe is an outstanding plan for the reuse of this valuable Government-owned property. The GSA plan has several important features. It would consolidate at one location many Food and Drug Administration elements that, for the most part, are now scattered in expensive rental quarters elsewhere in Montgomery County. It would keep in Montgomery County thousands of FDA employees who currently live in Montgomery County. It would retain in Government ownership a largeapproximately 730 acretract of prime property. It would permit the continued operations of facilities which the Department of Defense requires. And it would avoid the many serious management, personnel, and transportation disruptions that would accrue if the FDA were to be transferred to another jurisdiction.
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The people of all of the surrounding communities in Prince George's County and in Montgomery County are very supportive of the FDA consolidation at White Oak, and we urge this committee to do what's necessary to accomplish this important goal as soon as possible.
I'd like to address a couple of points that were raised.
One, I mentioned the golf course. What you are looking at is a buffer that was established early on in the front of the laboratory, and it's to remain a buffer in perpetuity. It is only a golf course because of beautification purposes, and the GSA does not propose to provide a golf course to the FDA. The GSA proposes to convey this buffer to Montgomery County for its continued use as a golf course for the public.
On the subject of transportation, several questions were raised and I'd like to address them.
In my capacity as chairman of the Transportation Committee of the LRA, I am surely mindful of all of the many transportation problems that this plan involves.
First, on public transportation, let me point out that there are Metro buses running up and down New Hampshire Avenue, which is along the west side of the property, connecting with several Metro stations.
In addition, there is ride-on bus facility that drives right into that front gate and up to the front door and connects directly with the Silver Spring Metro Station.
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The frequency of this ride-on bus can be increased up to 10 minutes, every 10 minutes, if necessary, depending upon the use and the number of people that are there.
On the number of people, the question was asked and not specifically answered as to how many people there were there earlier. Some time ago there were 4,000 employees at the Naval Surface Warfare Center4,000 before the reductions resulting from the BRAC. This will be an increase up to 5,900 people.
We have been working diligently on our Transportation Committee with planners from Montgomery County and Prince George's County, with road people, transportation people from both counties, and with the State Highway Administration addressing the various issues of transportation.
We have developed plans for several modifications, lane modifications, and we are doing some additional studies to facilitate traffic in the area.
We believe that the plan can be well accommodated. We know that there are problems. We're working on them and we are going to solve those problems.
Finally, the FDA consolidation at White Oak is sufficient use of existing Federal resources and would be of benefit to all taxpayers, and we urge that you consolidate it there at White Oak.
Thank you, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Levin.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILCHREST. Ms. Bretz?
Ms. BRETZ. Hi. Thank you. Good morning, Chairman Gilchrest.
Mr. GILCHREST. Good morning.
Ms. BRETZ. I'm the chairperson of LABQUEST '96, which is an organization which I'm speaking on behalf of today, and it's a partnership of citizens' associations, community groups, businesses, and government agencies working to reuse and redevelop our military base at White Oak.
One of the things that I thought was very important, Mr. Chairman, that you would like to come and see the base. We extend to you our fullest welcome. We'd be delighted to have you, and our community is kind of famous for its pies, so we'll be sure we getour favorite baker won the Maryland State Fair and the Crisco Bake-off, so we'll be sure you get a Maryland berry pie and, let's see, a lemon meringue for sure.
Mr. GILCHREST. A lemon meringue and half a cup of black coffee sounds good.
Ms. BRETZ. Gotcha. We'll be delighted to have you all.
Mr. GILCHREST. We may even get Mr LaTourette along on this trip.
Ms. BRETZ. Actually, she cooks, too, so we'll have you for lunch or dinner, too.
So I'd like to say we're delighted that you all care so much that you would come to our base, and, as Mike has mentioned, this base has been a part of our community. My particular house happens to back up to the base, and it's a very lovely site to see the rare birds and the beautiful deer and so forth running around behind my house.
I'd like to also say that everyone in the testimony so far has mentioned some of the things, and I won't go back into detail.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During BRAC 1991 our Citizens' Association, we were sorry to have the Navy scaled down, but that was a Navy decision. You also heard about our 4,100 employees during BRAC 1993 that were going to be arriving from NAVSEA. They ended up staying in Crystal City and are supposed to go to the Navy Yard.
So they didn't come. The Navy spent millions of dollars actually on environmental studies and getting the base ready for them, and we actually spent several years answering the NAVSEA employees' questions about the area, the base, child care, employment, everything. We were even planning fairs and exhibits and so forth.
So we've come awe're awfully familiar with the area, besides living there, and we're very familiar with how to help people be happy there, and that was our goal for NAVSEA.
Suddenly in 1995, as was mentioned earlier, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the BRAC, all of the sudden we were sort of putting banners and posters up and saying, ''Save our Base.'' Well, they decided that NAVSEA was not coming to our beautiful 710 acre base, and it will closethat it should close.
We fought a good fight, but we lost by one vote, so we've sort of picked ourselves up. We looked at each other, and we immediately began thinking, ''What in the world are we going to do with our base now if the Navy's going to close it?''
And we came together and we decided that we would like to keep it in a campus-like setting. We kind of like our deer and those beautiful birds and everything, so we needed something that would be compatible, so we came up with an idea of a Federal research center at White Oak, and that's what the plan is here. It's not just FDA consolidation, which is, I know, what you're addressing today. But that's sort of the prime part of our project, so that's why we are so concerned that you please do consider letting us continue with our plan. It's sort of the anchor, I guess, they talk about.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We interviewed FDA. We actually called them and we interviewed them and, quite frankly, we were very impressed, and we decided that for our consolidation of our base and the reuse that they would be a very good choice, and we do agree with that.
We read everything there was about FDA that we could get our hands on. We've read the criticism of FDA. And we think we have the answers to all that, so I'd like to share that with you.
First of all, here are some of our conclusions:
One, we like the Federal research center at White Oak complex, which is what you see there.
Two, we asked GSA to submitwe call it ''our plan,'' but it came out as their plan, under their banner, to the Navy for a no-cost transfer of the base to GSAno cost. They're getting it.
Three, we put together all the parts of the project, which they've already explained about the different parts of FDA, park and planning, the county, Food and Drug Administration, the Air Force. We've got it all together and we really are excited about it.
Next we developed this beautiful plan, we think in an ideal location. This is prime land, 710 beautiful acres, with the cleanest streams anywhere in the Washington suburbs. It even has brown trout in them.
Anyway, we wanted the keep it that way, and we had this plan, and we realized that our location is right by 95, right by the beltway, 495, and New Hampshire Avenue on one side and 29. We have a great location. We have Metro buses and ride-on service that service the Greenbelt Metro, the Silver Spring Metro, and also one goes to the Twin Brook Metro right now, so we've got that. We just need to get them more frequent.
University of Maryland is 4.2 miles from my door, so it's very close to us.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, as Mike said, the answer to your previous question, we had a lot of people on the base before and we adjusted quite well in the community.
We hope to have thelet me kind of give you an idea of our time line.
We begin our environmental cleanup on the base by the Navy June 3rd. We're cleaning up three of the sites, one of which is behind my house, and two other sites. One is where FDA is building and one is a site in Prince George's County because this base is two counties and we are going to be doing the cleanup starting June 3rd.
I happen to serve on the Restoration Advisory Board, which is responsible for working with the Navy, which it is the Navy's moral and legal obligation to clean up the base, and I have all assurances that they will, and I'm not worried about their commitment to us. It's law, and we believe that they will follow it, and we have worked with them on it.
So we're going to do the cleanup starting June 3rd. We hope to have the base transferred this summer at the end of July or beginning of August. We're having a formal ceremony to mark our base turn-over on Sat, October 12th. We invite you all to come.
We're going to have a whole day of welcoming back all the alumni that have ever worked at the base over the years, because we need to tell them they did a job well done. They feel kind of bad because the base is closing and whether their efforts were really needed. They were needed. The base is closing, but it's just going to a new phase.
So we're also going to honor them and the military will be there, and we're going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our base. Plus, our Hillandale neighborhood, we're going to have our Hillandale Watch Octoberfest. So it's a whole day. it's fun for the whole family, so bring you families and please come.
We will have sort of an official base turn-over at that time to GSA.
Our conclusion is to each of you and those that are missing: we've been on a roller coaster ride for a while, as other people have said. We're community volunteers. We're taxpayers who have done what agencies required us to do in this process. We have, for the Food and Drug Administration, a beautiful campus setting, 710 acres. Over 400,000 square feet of beautiful class Aand I'll give it class A-because it's an older building. If you look on the back of the handout I gave you, you can see the base there, and it's really beautiful, and this is just a part of it. But you see the 400,000 is right here, just in the main building. That's just that little bit in the main part is the 400,000 square feet.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We're giving you free landsGovernment land. We're giving youwe have lots of buildings on the base. Only some of them are appropriate for FDA. You're getting buildings with beautiful marble fireplaces in it, marble floors, conference rooms, cafeteria. It's wonderful. It's a beautiful place. So you're getting all of that. This is all for FDA. So I think we're doing that.
We're giving you a wonderful building, plenty of expansion room, plenty of places to run off from here all the labs and additional space needed.
And what's really important is you probably will never have a project before you that has total and complete community support, and we're it. Everybody says they've never had a project anywhere with all of us, but we're really it. We are totally and completely behind this project, because we think of it as our project, too.
And we think it's a win/win for everyonethe taxpayer, the community, and FDA.
The FDA consolidation will be unanimously welcomed. We think the solution is, when they are consolidated there, they are going to be more efficient and more accountable because that's what was in the research that I read, and I want to tell you, I think if they are consolidated they will be, and they're going to move into sort of the hot bed of civic activism being in our neighborhood, so I think they're pretty brave to do that, too.
We are willing to accept the increased activity in the area for the benefit of FDA and the American taxpayer, and we will save the American taxpayer a fortune in money. Our country will have better health programs, drugs, and devices by allowing this consolidation to continue on the Federal research center at White Oak in Montgomery and Prince George's County, Maryland. We have a lot to offer. Please accept our offer.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Ms. Bretz. You certainly are an enthusiastic supporter of this project.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Levin, I'm not sure if you needed to come here this morning.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. LaTourette, any questions?
Mr. LATOURETTE. No, I don't have any questions other than Ms. Bretz reminds me of a woman that sold me my house recently.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you very much for being here.
Mr. GILCHREST. I hope you enjoy your house.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I'm very happy there. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. Ms. Norton, any questions?
Ms. NORTON. No.
Mr. GILCHREST. Just a couple of quick ones. Ms. Bretz, who do you work for right now? You're
Ms. BRETZ. I'm a volunteer in the community. I'm here as LABQUEST, as a community group that we formed before we ever had an LRA. Actually some of us have been togetherwe used to be called SEAQUEST when we were trying to have NAVSEA come, and beforelet's see, we went into a ''Save our Base'' mode, and before that I think we were sort of in the adjusting to the downsizing mode, so some of us have been togetherthere are a lot of us, a huge amount of people, and we've been together, some of us, five years.
Mr. GILCHREST. When you said you had recommendations, we talked a good deal in this committee and certainly a number of other committees in the House have talked a good deal about how to make FDA much more efficient and whether or not they should be privatized and how they should be downsized and those kinds of things, and you made a comment about you had some answers to how FDA
Ms. BRETZ. Yes.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILCHREST. I'm not sure we have time this morning, but were you talking about how FDA could consolidate into White Oak or how FDA, itself, could be a more-efficient Federal agency.
Ms. BRETZ. I think maybe my answers were more that I felt that when I read the criticism of FDA in taking long times, I don't see how they function very well as they are structured right now in so many buildings in so many places. What my theory isand our theory of our community isthat if they were consolidated at the base or at the White Oak site or the Federal Research Center, they would have no excuse to not be efficient or accountable, and I believe they would be.
I have spent so much time in the last year working with FDA and GSA, one thing I'd like to tell you is I've readpeople have had these stories about horrors with Federal agencies, any one of them. I want you to know they have been absolutely wonderful to work with. I mean, even from the community, we haven't even had a fight over anything, not in a year. I think that's pretty good. And we listen to each other's suggestions and we don't alwaysyou know, we always sort of work it out.
They are not this big foot Federal agency that's going to stomp on the community, I can assure you.
And I believe, in just meeting these people, I think they're going to do a very good job, and if they are in our community, we'll be sure they do.
Mr. GILCHREST. Well, thank you.
I think, besides working with FDA, maybe we can bring you in to work out some of the problems with the grazing bill, the Native Species Act, and the Clean Water Act.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Levin, I also appreciate your attendance here this morning. One very quick question.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Talking about working with other agencies, were your efforts, as far as the transportation changes that may be necessary here, smooth when you worked with the Maryland Department of Transportation?
Mr. LEVIN. Yes. We have a representative on the committee from the State Highway Administration working with us all the way.
Ms. BRETZ. Senator Reuben is on our committee and she lives in our neighborhood right across from the base and she's head of the Transportation Committee for the Senate in the Senate Transportation Committee, and so she's there quite often for our meetings most of the time, and she really cares, too.
Mr. GILCHREST. Well, we certainly appreciate your enlivened testimony this morning, and I would like to close with this comment, that we often run through very not necessarily dry debates all the time here in Washington, but when we have someone with the effort that you've put into this issue and your enthusiasm and your natural sense of joy, it certainly helps us a great deal, and we will look forward to coming out to White Oak and enjoying some of that lemon meringue pie if it's not unethically incorrect.
Thank you very much for coming here this morning, both of you.
Ms. BRETZ. Thank you very much for having us.
Mr. LEVIN. Thank you.
Mr. GILCHREST. That concludes the hearing, and the subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:39 a.m., the subcommittee proceeded to further business.]