Press Releases

T&I Committee Approves Slate of Bills to Improve Usage of Federal Office Space, Emergency Preparedness and Response

Washington, D.C., November 15, 2023 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Today, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to approve 13 pieces of legislation, including a number of bills focused on addressing the federal government’s inefficient and costly use of office space, improving federal disaster preparedness and response programs, and more.

“Earlier this year, the GAO and our committee highlighted alarmingly low office space utilization rates at federal agencies, including agencies that used just nine percent of their office capacity.  I’m proud that our members worked across the aisle today to pass bipartisan solutions that will consolidate federal space, reduce waste, and save taxpayers money, in addition to making smart emergency preparedness and response program reforms,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO).

The following legislation for improving the utilization and reducing taxpayer costs of federal office space was approved at today's full Committee markup:

H.R. 6277, the FASTA Reform Act of 2023, introduced by Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Dina Titus (D-NV), reforms the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (FASTA), which was signed into law in 2016 to encourage the federal government to identify and sell unused properties for the benefit of taxpayers.  This bipartisan bill extends the termination date of the Public Buildings Reform Board (created under FASTA), requires the Board to submit a report to Congress on federal properties that should be sold, fosters more collaboration with agencies by allowing agencies to receive sale proceeds sooner than after the termination of the Board, and allows the Board access to Federal Real Property Council meetings.

H.R. 6260, the Federal Oversight of Construction Use and Safety (FOCUS) Act, introduced by Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Vice Chair Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), requires congressional notification of cost escalations of five percent on GSA capital projects and requires an amended prospectus to be submitted to Congress for approval if cost escalations exceed 10 percent. The bill also requires GSA to collect data on crimes in and around public buildings and submit a report to Congress that includes crime data and any actions taken or planned to address safety concerns. Utilization data and consolidation plans must also be included in prospectuses to reduce waste. Additionally, the bill orders a GAO review of utilization of special use space in federal buildings.

H.R. 6261, the Impact of Crime on Public Building Usage Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), establishes a GAO study on how crime in and around public buildings affects building usage, commuting methods, and costs of maintaining public buildings. The bill also requires GSA to submit a report to Congress on the impacts and costs associated with building operations related to crime and public safety in and around federal buildings. 

H.R. 6241, the Federal Use it or Lose it Leases (FULL) Act, introduced by Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) and Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), requires that occupancy agreements between GSA and tenant agencies  contain an annual reporting requirement that includes monthly occupancy and actual utilization rates and includes written procedures requiring the agency return space should actual utilization rate fall below 60 percent for six months within any one-year period. The bipartisan bill also requires agencies with independent leasing authorities to report utilization rates of their leases to their oversight committees.

H.R. 6254, the Public Buildings Accountability Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), requires a GAO report that reviews and makes an accounting of personnel in the Public Buildings Service, in-person attendance, historical staffing numbers and costs, and an analysis of effectiveness of the organizational structure.  The bill also requires an examination of the building operations account of the Federal Building Fund.

H.R. 6316, to establish an expiration date of certain committee resolutions with respect to leases or projectsintroduced by Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Ranking Member Dina Titus (D-NV) along with Subcommittee Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA), increases the GSA’s accountability to Congress by creating an expiration date for Congressional Committee Resolutions for leases, construction, alteration, repair, design, or acquisition projects.

H.R. 6317, to require the Administrator of the General Services Administration to submit a report describing a process for seeking public comment about proposed changes to mandatory design standards for public buildings, introduced by Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Ranking Member Dina Titus (D-NV), increases transparency in GSA’s P100 guidance document (which offers guidance related to how GSA constructs buildings) review process by increasing public input and access to information.

In addition to the various GSA reform bills, the Committee also approved the following legislation:

H.R. 6249, the Think Differently About Emergencies Act; introduced by Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), and Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); addresses the gaps in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance for Americans with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities and their families and requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and FEMA to study these gaps in assistance and resources.

H.R. 5473, the Promoting Resilient Buildings Act of 2023, introduced by Reps. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), cuts red tape and improves resiliency against disasters by making a technical correction in the Stafford Act and extending the building code definition from the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) of 2018.

H.R. 1586, the Forest Protection and Wildland Firefighter Safety Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and 24 other bipartisan cosponsors, supports efforts to fight wildland fire by providing judicial relief under the Clean Water Act for the dispersal of aerial fire retardant.

H.R. 5903, to authorize the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to accept funds for activities relating to wastewater treatment and flood control worksintroduced by Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Grace Napolitano (D-CA) with Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (R-NC), allows the IBWC to accept funds from federal and non-federal partners to support critical water infrastructure projects.

H.R. 3209, the I-27 Numbering Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) along with Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), August Pfluger (R-TX), and Ronny Jackson (R-TX), establishes the naming and numbering of certain routes of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas as Interstate Route 27, a crucial passageway for the Nation’s agriculture and energy industries.

H.R. 5754, designating the “Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez United States Courthouse” in Los Angeles, California, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and 29 other Members.

All 13 bills were approved by voice vote.  More information from today’s markup is available here.

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