On a unanimous bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 665, the Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. The legislation was reported from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on November 17, 2011 on a bipartisan voice vote. Provisions from complementary legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., were incorporated into the bill.
The bill streamlines the standard federal real property disposal process, and creates a pilot program which directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to dispose of unneeded federal real estate and property in an expedited and cost-effective manner with the goal of maximizing taxpayer savings and profit. To incentivize sales, agencies would be able to retain some of the cost savings from the sale of the property. The bill will also create a single, comprehensive and descriptive database of all real property under custody and control of the federal government.
"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," said Rep. Chaffetz.
"The federal government is the largest property owner in the world, but billions of tax dollars are wasted each year maintaining properties we no longer need," said Rep. Quigley. "This bipartisan bill works to the benefit of taxpayers by encouraging the disposal of unneeded property and, for the first time, allows the American people to see a comprehensive list of the real property they collectively own and their government administers."
"Allowing agencies to retain net sale proceeds is recognized by experts both in government and the private sector as a successful way to incentivize the sale of more property," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Reform to the archaic and byzantine disposal process is long overdue and greatly needed to get these properties out of the federal inventory."