A recent split between Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) may threaten funding for the National Bio and Agro- Defense Facility that is planned for Manhattan, Kansas.
Kansas Senate President Steve Morris (R-Hugoton) said that Congressional redistricting plans would have to keep Manhattan in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District instead of including it in Huelskamp’s 1st District in order to ensure funding for the NBAF, according to Kansas.com.
Morris fears the conflict could disrupt efforts to fund the $650 million national laboratory that is planned as a center for research in countering terrorism threats aimed at the nation’s food supply.
“Not to get into too many details, there’s a pretty good-sized conflict between the U.S. speaker of the House and our congressman from the 1st District,” Morris said, Kansas.com reports. “He’s (Huelskamp) told people that if Manhattan and Riley County stay in the 1st District (as was proposed in some early redistricting maps), funding could be a problem for NBAF. That’s out there, so we’re dealing with that.”
A spokesman for Huelskamp said that no conflict existed between the Kansas Congressman and the House Speaker.
“There’s a major conflict between the speaker and the congressman and I think his thought is if Manhattan’s represented by that congressman, funding will not show up,” Morris said, according to Kansas.com. “That’s sort of the bottom line.”
Construction on the lab, to be located near Kansas State University, was scheduled to begin in 2012, but has been put on hold because U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget reduced funding for the project from $50 million to $10 million. The Obama administration directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reevaluate the plans.
Since his election to Congress in 2010, Huelskamp has become a spokesman for Tea Party-inspired freshman senators who have demanded deep cuts in federal spending. In August, he clashed with Boehner over plans to raise the debt ceiling and reduce federal spending.