By Robert Rizzuto
A day after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that aims to save money by selling unused government-owned properties, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., is calling for the Senate to vote on his accompanying bill.
The legislation, known as the Civilian Property Realignment Act, was introduced by Brown in the Senate in August. It aims to decrease the federal deficit by "realigning, consolidating, selling, disposing, and improving the efficiency of federal buildings and other civilian real property."
In a statement, Brown said the legislation would provide a thorough review and disposal of the estimated 45,000 government-owned properties which have been deemed underutilized.
"Considering the severity of our debt, it's inexcusable to knowingly maintain tens of thousands of useless federal properties," Brown said. "This wasteful practice is symbolic of Washington's poor budgeting and reckless spending, and it's time for it to stop.
President Obama supports this effort, the House has acted, and so I urge Majority Leader Reid to allow the Senate to vote on this commonsense bill."
The legislation would establish a commission to review potential closures and sales, which Brown says, has the potential to save taxpayers $500 million in its first six months of operation.
After the House passed its version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., the Obama administration said in a statement that it appreciates the sentiment of the legislation, but charged that it doesn't go far enough to save taxpayer money.
In the statement, the White House argued that the bill's exemptions for parks and military facilities are too broad and that the inclusion of a clause requiring Congressional approval for the commission's recommendations on buildings would tie up the process in unnecessary bureaucracy.