Bipartisan Federal Real Estate Management Reform Bills Could Save Taxpayers Billions of Dollars
Two bipartisan bills introduced in the House will reform the management of federal office space and real estate, reduce government waste, and have the potential to save taxpayers billions of dollars.
The two bills are the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (H.R. 4487), and the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (H.R. 4465).
H.R. 4487 was introduced yesterday by Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA); Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Andre Carson (D-IN); Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA); Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR); Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
H.R. 4465 was introduced last week by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA); Shuster; DeFazio; Barletta; Carson; Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT); and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“These two bills provide opportunities to save taxpayers billions of dollars,” Shuster said. “Cutting the red tape that prevents the federal government from getting the best deals possible for housing federal agencies and reducing unnecessary and underutilized federal space is simply smarter government.”
“H.R. 4487 gives GSA the flexibility to make smarter decisions when it comes to federal buildings,” said DeFazio. “From reducing the federal footprint to considering the long-term costs of leasing versus construction, the legislation gives GSA more tools to better manage federal buildings.”
“In Washington common sense isn’t too common,” Barletta said. “It’s been my priority in this subcommittee to make government bureaucrats think more about the bottom line instead of preferences for luxurious office space. My bill, the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act, gives the government landlord the tools it needs to save taxpayer money by getting better deals on federal leases. Already we’ve saved $2.9 billion dollars by making smart federal office space decisions. This bill could unlock $500 million more every year in lease savings. I was also pleased to cosponsor Rep. Denham’s long-time priority to encourage the federal government to sell unneeded property. It’s time that this idea moves forward.”
“I am pleased that my recommendations to strengthen and improve the Federal Protective Service have been included in the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act,” said Carson. “As a former law enforcement official, I believe it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the millions of federal workers and daily visitors, and to keep federal buildings safe. With increased oversight and additional legislative authority I believe the Federal Protective Service can thrive in its mission of protecting federal facilities, their occupants, and visitors by providing superior law enforcement and protective security services.”
“Unused and underutilized federal properties have been a drain on our economy for years,” said Denham. “My bill will save us billions by cutting through red tape to change the poorly-managed property management system so that taxpayers no longer have to foot the bill for keeping the lights on in empty buildings.”
The Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (H.R. 4487)
Reforms of the General Services Administration (GSA) in the bill will enable the agency to better facilitate consolidations, reduce space, and negotiate the best possible office space lease deals to save billions of dollars. The bill also strengthens authorities of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) in order to improve security at federal buildings.
With half of GSA’s leased inventory expiring in the next five years, providing GSA with authorities to expeditiously capitalize on currently lower rental rates will provide significant taxpayer savings. The bill establishes a Streamlined Leasing Pilot Program that reduces the administrative red tape on most GSA leases and encourages space consolidations.
The legislation also improves accountability in the acquisition and construction of new federal space. H.R. 4487 ensures federal construction projects remain within or under budget, sets clear timeframes on authorized projects, and clarifies congressional oversight of property exchanges.
Furthermore, the bill clarifies protection authorities related to federal buildings and improves accountability and oversight of the use of such authorities.
The Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (H.R. 4465)
This legislation implements common sense policies to shrink the size of government and help ensure savings by selling or redeveloping high value properties, consolidating federal space, maximizing the utilization rates of space, and streamlining the disposal of unneeded assets.
The bill establishes a Public Buildings Reform Board of members who will identify opportunities to reduce the real property inventory and make recommendations for the sale of at least $8 billion worth of underutilized and vacant federal properties. The bill also requires the GSA to create and publish a single, comprehensive database of all federal real properties, including whether that property is excess, surplus, underutilized or unutilized to prevent a future stockpiling of unused and under-utilized property.
Click here for more information about the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2016.
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