Press Releases

House Approves Bill to Improve Utilization of Federal Office Space

Washington, D.C., March 12, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the Utilizing Space Efficiently and Improving Technologies (USE IT) Act of 2023 (H.R. 6276), legislation that sets space occupancy standards to incentivize federal workers to return to the office or lose office space.  The bill requires the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to implement a standard methodology of measuring occupancy and utilization of public buildings and directs the disposal of unused space.

The legislation was introduced on November 8, 2023, by Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA). H.R. 6276 was approved by the T&I Committee on December 6, 2023.

The USE It Act requires the heads of federal agencies to submit a report to Congress that includes the actual utilization rate of each building in the agencies’ portfolios, along with the methodology for calculating that rate. Based on those reports, the bill further requires the GSA and OMB to ensure that no building utilization rate falls below 60 percent and, if it does, take steps to reduce or consolidate that space. Under the bill, GSA’s Capital Investment Program must prioritize projects in public buildings where actual utilization is higher than 60 percent. Lastly, H.R. 6276 mandates that GSA and OMB submit a report to Congress that includes a plan to consolidate department and agency headquarters in the National Capital Region, leading to building utilizations of 60 percent or more.

“Right now, American taxpayers are forced to pay $2 billion a year for office space – almost half the size of Disney World – that D.C. bureaucrats refuse to use,” said Chairman Perry.  “President Biden is grasping onto more than 11,000 acres of old, unused buildings and won’t force federal employees into offices already paid for by the American people.  It’s time we end this wasteful use of hardworking Americans’ tax dollars and sell these unused public spaces.”

“I want to thank Subcommittee Chairman Scott Perry for introducing this important legislation and leading the broader effort to save the taxpayers money by identifying and unloading underutilized federal office space,” said Committee Chairman Sam Graves.  “This bill will allow us to better measure occupancy and utilization of public buildings, identify opportunities for consolidation, and determine federal buildings that are no longer needed.”

The USE IT Act is part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s ongoing efforts to identify wasted federal office space and save the taxpayers money. Last year, Chairman Perry led a hearing to examine federal office space utilization and discuss a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that showed the majority of agencies reviewed during a three-week sample period across January, February, and March of 2023 used 25 percent or less of their headquarters buildings’ space.

Yesterday, the House approved a number of other measures,  including an additional bill sponsored by Chairman Perry, the FASTA Reform Act of 2023 (H.R. 6277), to encourage the federal government to identify and sell unused properties for the benefit of taxpayers.

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