#1 Heal the Federal Government

2023-10-12 Official Campaign Website:

The official campaign website has launched here: https://www.fialforward.com/

Relocate the Federal Branches

The simplest and most powerful idea to improve the federal government is that we relocate two of the three federal headquarters across the continental U.S., leaving only one to remain in Washington, D.C.

Why relocate? Separation of powers. Checks and balances. Is this occurring with all three branches under the influence of the fourth “branch” of government? The fourth branch? Money, obviously. Every dollar we spend sends some fraction straight to D.C. — not only through taxes, as it should, but through lobbyists and various forms of corruption.

If the three branches were in different regions, it would take three times the money to influence them. It’s a crazy idea. But let it sink in for a few days (as I did when I first heard this decades ago), and it will probably grow on you. Would it cost a lot of money? Yes. Take a lot of time? Yes. But the benefits would be immeasurable: relocation is the right direction for our federal government, and it’s necessary if we want the nation to survive for a few more centuries.

My personal opinion is that:

  1. The President and most of the cabinet be moved immediately to the western third of the continent (whether closer to or further from the Pacific, Canada, and Mexico remain details up for debate), with other executive headquarters to move in the following years and decades;
  2. The Congress be relocated to the central third of the continent, allowing for fair travel distances required by all sitting members of Congress, their staff, and any Americans traveling to Congress for professional or personal reasons; and
  3. The Supreme Court remain in Washington, D.C., which would serve as the nation’s “historic capital.”

Executive Expectation: President and White House choose new location within 6 months, breaks ground within 12-18 months, President/Cabinet/initial staff relocated within 12-24 months. (Historically, the President has served from a White House in other cities, and occasionally while traveling, so there is precedent.) Full executive relocation will likely take several decades.

Congressional Expectation: Let’s be honest with ourselves… could Congress actually relocate? Hah! Congress couldn’t decide on a new shade of white to paint its own building… let alone where and when and how to relocate! Modern Congresses are unlikely to even choose a site within a typical term, let alone appropriate funds or begin the transition. Congress must be motivated by either a) Presidential leadership or executive deadlines, b) the will of the American public, or c) the idea abandoned, the Supreme Court relocated, leaving Congress to remain in D.C.

Judicial Expectation: Failing the relocation of Congress, or alternative public opinion, the Supreme Court could decide to relocate, with Congress remaining in Washington, D.C.

However, this debate and all its details would require input from all Americans, and should be finalized in public, through Congress.

The change would benefit all Americans, be equally attractive and challenging to both major political parties, historic, and inspiring. Over the centuries, corruption is an inevitable fact of any government or position/body of power, but this simple change would be the greatest structural modification for fighting corruption since the ratification of the modern U.S. constitution, which split power amongst our famous “three branches of government.”

Which to move?

Below is an interaction with chatGPT (GPT-4) in September 2023. Emphasis from either me or chatGPT, depending on “speaker”.


Ok, inquiry about the federal government. Let’s compare the three branches. Remember, a core of my platform is relocating two of the three branches outside of DC. My ideal is to keep the Supreme Court in DC as the “historic capital,” but in all likelihood Congress won’t be able to decide where to move, and it will remain in DC. But Americans will need to debate this, and we’ll have to compare which branch is best to remain located in DC.

How do the three branches differ in size of budget, number of people, and infrastructure like buildings?


The three branches of the federal government differ significantly in terms of budget, the number of people, and infrastructure. Here’s a comparison based on data up to 2021:

1. Executive Branch:

  • Budget: By far the largest in terms of budget. The executive branch encompasses various federal agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, and many others. The sum of these departments and agencies makes up a significant chunk of the federal budget.
  • Number of People: Again, the largest. The Executive branch employs millions of federal workers across its various agencies and departments. This includes everyone from park rangers to military personnel.
  • Infrastructure: Extensive. The Executive branch occupies a vast number of buildings both within and outside of D.C., with the White House being the most prominent.

2. Legislative Branch (Congress):

  • Budget: Much smaller than the Executive, but still considerable due to its support agencies like the Congressional Budget Office, Library of Congress, and Capitol Police.
  • Number of People: There are 535 members of Congress (100 Senators and 435 Representatives), but the number of employees is much larger when considering staffers, committee personnel, and support agencies. The number is in the thousands.
  • Infrastructure: While the Capitol Building is the most iconic, there are numerous office buildings (like the Rayburn, Dirksen, and Hart buildings), as well as facilities related to support agencies.

3. Judicial Branch:

  • Budget: Of the three branches, the Judicial has the smallest budget. However, it’s not just the Supreme Court; the federal judiciary includes multiple levels of courts, from district courts to appellate courts.
  • Number of People: Besides the nine Supreme Court justices, there are hundreds of federal judges across the country, supported by a network of clerks, administrative personnel, and other staff. Still, in terms of direct federal employees, this branch is the smallest.
  • Infrastructure: The Supreme Court building in D.C. is the most recognizable, but there are also numerous federal courthouses across the country. The infrastructure is more dispersed compared to the other branches.

Analysis for Relocation:

If we’re evaluating solely based on size and scale:

  • Easiest to Move: Judicial Branch. It’s the smallest in terms of personnel and budget. However, it also arguably has a symbolic significance tied to its D.C. location, particularly the Supreme Court.
  • Most Challenging to Move: Executive Branch. Given the sheer number of employees, departments, and agencies, relocating would be a massive undertaking. Additionally, many agencies have missions tied to their current locations.
  • Middle Ground: Legislative Branch. While smaller than the executive, relocating Congress would still be a massive logistical challenge, especially considering the need for office spaces, committee rooms, and other facilities for the functioning of the legislative process.

Given your platform’s core, a debate on this topic would indeed be interesting and would engage Americans in a fundamental discussion about the nature and symbolism of their government’s locations.


Yes, I figured those relative sizes, thank you! On the debate front, I still think it’s best to relocate the executive than the legislative, because while it’s bigger, it would require less debate and decision (beginning with only one person, the President) than the 535 members of Congress.

Can you give some actual numbers of budget and personnel?


Certainly! Let’s provide a more detailed breakdown using numbers up to my last update in 2021:

1. Executive Branch:

  • Budget: For Fiscal Year 2021, the total U.S. federal budget was around $4.8 trillion. The majority of this budget is managed by executive departments and agencies. The Department of Defense alone had a budget of around $700 billion, and the Health and Human Services budget was over $1.2 trillion. These are just two of the many executive departments.
  • Number of People: The Executive branch employs more than 4 million people. This includes the military’s active-duty personnel (about 1.3 million) and the civilian personnel (more than 2 million across various departments and agencies).

2. Legislative Branch (Congress):

  • Budget: For Fiscal Year 2021, the budget for legislative branch operations (which goes beyond just paying members of Congress and includes support agencies) was around $5.4 billion.
  • Number of People: In addition to the 535 voting members of Congress, the branch employs an estimated 30,000+ individuals. This includes staffers, employees of support agencies (e.g., Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office), and other personnel.

3. Judicial Branch:

  • Budget: For Fiscal Year 2021, the budget for the entire federal judiciary (which includes the Supreme Court, court of appeals, district courts, and other judiciary services) was over $7.5 billion.
  • Number of People: The Judicial branch employs fewer people than the other two branches, with over 30,000 employees. This includes all the federal judges, clerks, administrative staff, and other judiciary personnel. Remember, there are 9 Supreme Court Justices, 179 judges in the Courts of Appeals, 673 judges in the District Courts, and 9 judges in the Court of International Trade.

Given these figures, your point about the Executive branch holds. While it’s indeed a vast entity, the decision-making structure is more centralized, potentially allowing for a more streamlined decision-making process when it comes to relocation compared to the inherently debate-prone Legislative branch.


And, while this may be difficult and even speculative, can you comment about what percentages of those financial and personnel numbers are actually located physically in the DC region?


Estimating the exact percentage of federal finances and personnel physically located in the DC region requires specific data for every agency and department, which can be challenging to pinpoint with accuracy. However, I can provide a general overview based on known data and trends up to 2021:

1. Executive Branch:

  • Budget: A significant portion of the executive branch’s budget is allocated to activities outside the DC region. For instance, the Department of Defense spends a large part of its budget on military bases, operations, and personnel across the country and abroad. The Department of Health and Human Services funds health programs nationwide. While certain administrative costs and salaries are based in DC, a large portion of the budget goes beyond the capital region.
  • Number of People: While the Executive branch employs over 4 million people, the vast majority of these individuals are not based in the DC region. Most military personnel are stationed at bases across the country and overseas. Civilian personnel of various executive departments and agencies are scattered throughout the country, with many agencies having regional offices.

Estimation: Maybe around 10% to 15% of the executive branch’s personnel might be based in the DC region, but the percentage of the budget spent specifically in DC would be much lower.

2. Legislative Branch (Congress):

  • Budget: Most of the legislative branch’s operations and budget are centered in the DC region since it mainly covers the operations of the U.S. Congress.
  • Number of People: The majority of the 30,000+ individuals employed by the legislative branch work in the DC region, including members of Congress, their staffers, and support agency employees.

Estimation: A very high percentage, likely 80% or more, of both budget and personnel for the legislative branch are based in the DC area.

3. Judicial Branch:

  • Budget: While the Supreme Court is in DC, the federal judiciary spans the country with district courts, appellate courts, and other judicial services. Therefore, a significant portion of the judiciary’s budget is spent outside the DC region.
  • Number of People: As mentioned, the judicial branch employs over 30,000 people. Of these, only a small fraction work at the Supreme Court in DC. The rest are distributed among the various federal courts throughout the country.

Estimation: Perhaps around 5% to 10% of the judicial branch’s personnel might be based in the DC region, with a corresponding percentage of the budget.

Again, these are general estimations based on the structure and distribution of federal agencies and departments. For precise figures, one would need detailed data from each branch and an in-depth study of their operations.



While the executive forms the largest federal contribution (in dollars and personnel) inside the DC metro region, all of this information points to Congress remaining in DC as the best course of action.

Relocating executive personnel, infrastructure, and economic contributions to the region should begin with the President and cabinet in the first year. Moreover, to avoid an unbearable economic shock to the people in the DC metro area, full executive relocation should take place over 2-20 years, beginning to. This might even include temporary financial relief or subsides to help reduce economic strain on the DC metro region, although, as I stated in my video speech on the topic of relocation, the federal government must prioritize all Americans over Americans in DC, rather than the other way around. Some people in DC will fight this idea as if their livelihoods depend on it (true!) but I think most Americans in the region would understand the upcoming sacrifices required of them, in the interest of preserving the Union and ensuring it endures for several more centuries.

Any disagreements?


Your perspective on relocating the executive branch while retaining Congress in DC is well-founded based on the information provided. The logic behind a phased transition for the executive branch makes sense when considering the potential economic and operational impacts on the DC region. Here are some considerations based on your proposal:

1. Economic Considerations: The DC metro area has a significant dependence on federal employment and contracts. A phased transition would help mitigate sudden shocks to the local economy. As you suggested, financial relief or subsidies might be necessary, especially in the initial phases of the transition.

2. Operational Continuity: A gradual transition would allow for better continuity of operations. Immediate relocations might disrupt the functioning of essential government services.

3. Political and Public Perception: Public perception and political will are essential for such a transformative decision. Framing the move as beneficial for the long-term health of the nation while also acknowledging the sacrifices of those in the DC area is crucial. Ensuring transparent communication and demonstrating the benefits to the broader American populace can help gain support.

4. Infrastructure and Costs: Relocating the executive branch will require significant infrastructure investments in the new location. Considering budget constraints and other national priorities, the timeline you proposed (2-20 years) gives ample room for proper planning and execution.

5. Security: One of the significant challenges would be ensuring the security of the relocated executive entities. While this is solvable, it will require careful planning and collaboration with various security agencies.

In conclusion, your approach seems pragmatic and considers the broader implications of such a move. The emphasis on phased transitions, potential financial support for the affected region, and clear communication are all vital elements of a successful relocation strategy. The only real “disagreement” isn’t a disagreement at all, but a reminder: such a massive initiative will require vast bipartisan support and extensive public consultations to navigate the complexities and challenges that will undoubtedly arise.

Update History:

[2023-09-19: Added video (recorded a month ago), also added recent chatGPT interaction]
[2023: Minor updates, more explanation. ]
[ 2017 — Drafted/Posted ]