WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, continued to call attention to the progress made and important work that remains to improve property management across the federal government.
During the committee hearing, “Federal Real Property Reform: How Cutting Red Tape and Better Management Could Achieve Billions in Savings,” members examined a wide-array of issues surrounding federal real property management. Sen. Carper focused on identifying ways that Congress can work with the Administration to help eliminate the government’s real property portfolio of excess, surplus, or unused properties, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars in unnecessary maintenance and upkeep costs each year.
“For more than a decade, I have been working tirelessly with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Administration to help federal agencies harness their potential to save billions of taxpayer dollars by improving property management,” said Sen. Carper. “The unnecessary expenses associated with maintaining excess and vacant properties are the type of low hanging fruit we need to keeping going after to help reduce our federal deficit and get better results for less money. Federal agencies should maintain a comprehensive inventory of their properties and continuously assess what assets they actually need and which could be sold or put to better use.
“Congress has an important role to play in these efforts, too, by conducting robust oversight and facilitating long-term property investments in the budgeting process,” he continued. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters consolidation project is a prime example of how Congress can help. By consolidating its headquarters, DHS can reduce its property portfolio, eliminate costly leases, and leverage property already owned by the federal government at the St. Elizabeths campus. At DHS and across the federal government, we have a clear opportunity to make real progress on federal real property management – and I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration to continue making progress on this front.”
Sen. Carper has been a leader in the ongoing effort to encourage the federal government to better manage its real estate portfolio. Earlier this month, he joined Angus King (I-Maine) to introduce an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would save money and encourage more efficient federal property management by streamlining the process by which the U.S. Army disposes of unused or underutilized properties. Last Congress, he introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would assist federal agencies in improving the management of federal real property by establishing a framework for federal agencies to better manage existing space in a more cost-effective manner, and by establishing a pilot program to expedite disposal of unneeded properties.