The Public Buildings Savings and Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 2612)

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0 Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 03:25 |

The Public Buildings Savings and Reform Act of 2013 is bipartisan legislation to reform the agency responsible for managing the majority of the Federal Government’s real property and office space.  The legislation increases transparency and oversight of federal public buildings programs and helps ensure that agencies reduce their real estate footprint, better utilize office space, and save taxpayers’ money.

The Public Buildings Savings and Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 2612) improves the function and management of the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration (GSA).  The bill addresses waste and mismanagement identified by Committee investigations, Government Accountability Office studies, and the GSA Inspector General, including expansion of the federal real property footprint, the lack of transparency on federal property information and utilization, the overbuilding of federal courthouses, and GSA’s bonus and internship systems and conferences.

H.R. 2612 was unanimously approved by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on July 10, 2013.

Summary of the Public Buildings Savings and Reform Act of 2013

Improving the Management of Federal Real Property

  • Freezes GSA’s real estate footprint
  • Requires GSA to develop a system to track and report on actual utilization of space
  • Requires all space requests to be fully justified
  • Sunsets authorizations after five years if GSA has not initiated the project
  • Limits the independent leasing authorities of certain agencies outside of the GSA (earlier this year the Committee held a hearing highlighting Nuclear Regulatory Commission costly abuses of its independent leasing authority)

Strengthening Transparency and Oversight

  • Requires GSA to provide annual lists of leases signed in the previous fiscal year
  • Requires an Inspector General review of GSA’s internship programs
  • Establishes a moratorium on bonuses for Senior Executive Service (SES) employees
  • Requires GSA to provide reports on conferences
  • Requires GSA to submit a budget on proposed administrative costs of the Public Buildings Service

Saving Taxpayers’ Money

  • Reduces costs related to courthouses by establishing limitations on the number of courtrooms that can be constructed based on courtroom sharing policies (in April, a Committee hearing highlighted waste in federal courthouse construction)
  • Sets caps for project escalations in cost and scope
  • Minimizes leased space costs by requiring GSA to report on leases exceeding standard rental rates
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