WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced bipartisan legislation to hold agencies more accountable to the public on how they reuse excess personal property. Federally-owned personal property includes physical items such as office supplies, furniture, automobiles, and heavy machinery. The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, and this bill would encourage federal agencies to consider reusing the surplus property of other agencies – available at no cost apart from any necessary transportation – before buying new products to save taxpayer dollars.
“Every year government agencies purchase new office supplies, equipment and vehicles even though other agencies may already own surplus items that could meet those needs in a more cost-effective way,” said Senator Peters. “My bipartisan bill would ensure agencies can save taxpayer dollars and maintain the supplies they need by reusing excess property the government already owns.”
“This is not that hard. Use the stuff you already have before you buy more stuff. When federal agencies just buy more, before they use what we already have, it shows a lack of commitment to saving taxpayer dollars. The federal government is already the largest single buyer of goods and services in the world, so we need to prioritize good stewardship and effective use of property the government has already purchased,” said Senator Lankford. “From paper clips to automobiles, Oklahoma families and businesses make decisions every day about how to use what they have before spending more money. We should always look for ways for the federal government to save more money and waste less time.”
The Reuse Excess Property Act would update existing requirements for agencies to report their excess personal property to the General Services Administration (GSA) by making those reports available to the public as well. This would help agency officials and taxpayers better understand the extent to which agencies are working to cut wasteful spending through the use of excess property. The bill would also require agencies to publicly report on their guidance on the use of excess personal property and designate an employee to be responsible for searching through available excess personal property for items that meet agency needs.