Press Releases

House Passes Federal Real Estate Management Reform Bills that Will Save Taxpayers Billions

Washington, DC, May 23, 2016 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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The House of Representatives unanimously approved two bipartisan bills today to shrink the federal footprint, improve the federal government’s management of its real estate portfolio, and to streamline the disposal of excess or underutilized federal buildings to save taxpayers billions of dollars.

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) will reform the General Services Administration (GSA), the agency responsible for the management of much of the federal real estate inventory, and the processes of selling and disposing of unneeded federal real estate.

“Given our trillion dollar deficit and skyrocketing debt we must examine every area of government and look for ways to cut spending,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), lead sponsor of H.R. 4465.  “This bill is a bipartisan solution to a three billion dollar problem.  By selling and consolidating unneeded and underutilized federal property we can save taxpayer dollars and revitalize communities in the process.”

“We have had hearings highlighting federal buildings, sitting vacant, costing the taxpayer through maintenance costs and unrealized sale proceeds,” said Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA), lead sponsor of H.R. 4487.  “These buildings are often eyesores in local communities and provide no local tax benefits.  And agencies have been slow in getting rid of unneeded properties.  On top of that, within five years, half of all GSA leases will expire.  To give some perspective on how much space that represents, that’s 100 million square feet of space or 32 new World Trade Centers in New York.  And, more than half of GSA’s total real estate inventory is in commercial leased space, costing the taxpayer more than $5.5 billion each year.  We are taking advantage of this timing, and realizing real savings for the taxpayers.”

“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 Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee André Carson (D-IN).  “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 keep federal buildings safe.  I’m also pleased to support the FASTA bill, which creates an independent board to make recommendations on right-sizing the federal real estate portfolio to help save taxpayers millions of dollars.”

“For years, poor management of federal buildings and agency office space has wasted the taxpayers’ money, and the Transportation Committee has made it a priority to significantly reform the way the government handles its real estate portfolio,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).  “These two bills will help cut through the red tape in the processes for managing, utilizing, consolidating, and disposing of federal property to ensure the taxpayers get a better deal.  I particularly want to commend Congressmen Barletta and Denham for their hard work over the years on this issue and in developing these common sense bills.”

“The legislation passed today reflects a collaborative effort to improve real estate management in the federal government,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR).  “From reducing the federal footprint to considering the long-term costs of leasing versus construction, the Public Buildings Reform and Saving Act gives GSA more tools to better manage our inventory of federal buildings.  In addition, the Federal Assets Sales and Transfer Act provides for a rigorous inventory and analysis of the federal real property inventory, creating a Board to provide an objective perspective on the value and usefulness of the federal government’s real estate assets while streamlining the real estate disposal process.  I commend my colleagues for their work on these bipartisan bills.”

“Much of the real property owned or leased by the federal government is unneeded, unnecessary, or impractical,” said Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

"Maximizing the assets already owned by the federal government while minimizing operating costs and streamlining the property disposal process can save taxpayers billions of dollars.”

“I am very pleased to support the bipartisan Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act because it will protect the rights of homeless assistance providers ‎to receive surplus federal property while clarifying that permanent housing is an eligible use for such property,” said Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.

“The Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act will cut millions of taxpayer dollars wasted each year maintaining unnecessary properties,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).  “It will also ensure that taxpayers are no longer flying blind when it comes to the value of real property that the government owns and administers.  I’m proud to be a part of these bipartisan common sense and responsible reforms.”

The Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (H.R. 4465)

H.R. 4465 was introduced by Reps. Denham, Chaffetz, Shuster, DeFazio, Barletta, Carson, and Cummings.

This legislation implements reforms 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 up to $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 those properties are excess, surplus, underutilized, or unutilized to prevent a future stockpiling of unused and underutilized property.

Click here for more information about the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2016.

The Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (H.R. 4487)

H.R. 4487 was introduced by Reps. Barletta, Carson, Shuster, DeFazio, and other Members of the Transportation Committee.

The GSA reforms included in H.R. 4487 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 establishes a Streamlined Leasing Pilot Program that reduces the administrative red tape on most GSA leases and encourages space consolidations, improves accountability in the acquisition and construction of new federal space, ensures federal construction projects remain within or under budget, sets clear timeframes on authorized projects, and clarifies congressional oversight of property exchanges.  The bill also strengthens authorities of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) in order to improve security at federal buildings, clarifies protection authorities related to federal buildings, and improves accountability and oversight of the use of such authorities.

Click here for more information about the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016.

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