Today H.R. 665, The Federal Building and Property Disposal Act of 2011, passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 403-0. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), lead sponsor of the legislation, released the following statement in reaction to its passage.
"This is great news," said Chaffetz. "The Federal Building and Property Disposal Act is needed because the federal government owns too many buildings and structures. The current process to dispose of these excess properties is not working. With $15 trillion in debt, the federal government can no longer afford to foot the bill for excess buildings. This bill is bipartisan, will direct revenue to the US Treasury, and reduces operation and maintenance budgets. I encourage my colleagues in the US Senate to pass this important piece of legislation."
The Federal Building and Property Disposal Act improves the existing disposal process so that excess buildings can more quickly be removed from federal control. Specifically, the bill creates a five-year pilot program that would expedite the disposal of the most profitable properties by removing red tape. Second, the bill would permanently modernize the existing disposal process by reducing administrative overhead, creating new agency incentives, and requiring greater accountability from federal agencies. These reforms will increase transparency and empower agencies to promptly dispose of unneeded federal property.
The federal government is the largest single holder of real property in the United States with more than 900,000 buildings and structures.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that the federal government holds 45,000 underutilized properties that cost nearly $1.7 billion annually to operate.
Office of Management and Budget Comptroller Daniel Werfel testified before a Senate Subcommittee that the government controls 14,000 excess and 76,000 underutilized buildings and structures.
The federal government has accumulated excess properties because the current disposal process is flawed. In 2003 and 2011, GAO designated federal real property management as a high-risk area to the federal government.
H.R. 665 now moves to the Senate for consideration.