Press Releases

House Approves Bills to Spur High-Speed Broadband Projects, Reduce Waste in Federal Office Space & Improve Disaster Programs for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 11, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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The House of Representatives today approved legislation removing barriers for communities using Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants to develop high-speed broadband access, saving taxpayers money through improved utilization of federal office space, and improving federal disaster assistance programs for Americans with disabilities.

In total, the House approved 10 pieces of legislation under the jurisdiction of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including H.R. 1752, the Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE) Act; H.R. 6277, the FASTA Reform Act of 2023; H.R. 6254, the Public Buildings Accountability Act of 2023; and H.R. 6249, the Think Differently About Emergencies Act.

“Too many of our communities, particularly in rural America, still lack broadband access.  In some cases, just completing that ‘last mile’ is what stands in the way of connecting people to a job they need.  The E-BRIDGE Act will help spur projects that attract jobs and businesses to expand economic development and opportunity in rural and poor communities,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO).  He continued, “Our committee has worked to highlight alarmingly low office space utilization rates at federal agencies and the resulting waste of taxpayer dollars. We have also been working to ensure that emergency preparedness and response programs work for everyone.  I commend the Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who have led on today’s important pieces of legislation.”

H.R. 1752, the Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE) Act, introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), along with Rep. Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR), Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS), and Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), removes hurdles for broadband projects under EDA grants, including difficult last-mile efforts that often delay rural broadband deployment.  It also ensures that local communities can partner with the private sector in carrying out broadband projects and gives communities more flexibility in complying with their funding match requirements. 


  • Eliminates barriers to investments in last-mile broadband projects in distressed communities, making them eligible for EDA grants,
  • Clarifies that eligible recipients may include public-private partnerships and consortiums to leverage private sector expertise in project development and broadband deployment,
  • Provides flexibility in the procurement process to account for limited availability of broadband services in distressed communities,
  • Clarifies that funds can be combined with other federal resources, and
  • Provides flexibility on accounting for in-kind methods to meet non-federal cost share.

    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.

    “The FASTA Reform Act of 2023 will help cut the red tape faced by the federal government when trying to sell empty, unneeded buildings,” said Rep. Perry. “Taxpayer dollars must stop being wasted on unused property.”

    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.

    “The work-from-home standard for federal employees empowered by the Biden administration has enabled already over-compensated federal bureaucrats to continue to not show up for work and leave taxpayers on the hook for unused federal office spaces,” said Rep. Van Orden.  “The General Services Administration currently manages over 370 million square feet of owned and leased assets yet has no idea how much space is being occupied.  In Washington D.C., approximately 75% of building space is unoccupied.  This is unacceptable and needs to change.  I am proud to have my Public Buildings Accountability Act pass the House so we can begin enforcing the much-needed transparency and accountability on the Public Buildings Service’s real estate and budget and be good stewards of hardworking Americans’ tax dollars.”

    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.

    “Individuals with disabilities are more likely to be critically injured or die during natural disasters.  My bill ensures no one is left behind by working to get them specialized support to safely evacuate and recover after a disaster strikes,” said Rep. Molinaro.

    Additional legislation approved by the House today includes:

  • H. Con. Res. 83, authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service and the National Honor Guard and Pipe Band Exhibition, sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)
  • H.R. 6316, to amend title 40, United States Code, to establish an expiration date of certain committee resolutions with respect to leases or projects, sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)
  • H.R. 4693, the Tennessee Valley Authority Salary Transparency Act, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)
  • H.R. 886, the Save Our Seas 2.0 Amendments Act, sponsored by Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
  • S. 1858, the Disaster Assistance Deadlines Alignment Act, sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
  • H.R. 532, designating the “Harold L. Murphy Federal Building and United States Courthouse” in Rome, GA, sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)