WASHINGTON — Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) commended the Obama Administration’s progress toward implementing the Freeze the Footprint policy directive to improve federal property management. Freeze the Footprint calls on federal agencies to develop plans to restrict the growth in office and warehouse inventories, improve the management of the properties that they own or lease, and eliminate those assets that they no longer need. It also directs agencies to control the growth in square footage they own and maintain and to facilitate increased coordination between top managers charged with managing federal property.
“As the country’s largest property owner and energy user, it is critical that that the federal government manages its real estate holdings in a way that is practical and cost-effective,” said Chairman Carper. “This report from the Office of Management and Budget highlights significant progress made since the Freeze the Footprint implementation began, and I commend the Administration for its hard work to improve its federal property management. That being said, there is always room for improvement – and while this progress is an important step in the right direction, there is more work to do. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration in our effort to improve the federal government’s property management here in our nation’s capital and at federal properties around the country. I look forward to our work to come on this critical issue.”
Chairman Carper also highlighted efforts by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to consolidate office space leased by DHS throughout the national capital region at the St. Elizabeths campus in southeast Washington, D.C.. Once completed, the St. Elizabeths campus would eliminate 32 out of the 51 leases that DHS currently pays for in the D.C. area, allowing for more efficient use of office space. These actions will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings for the taxpayers.
“One example showing the benefits of reducing the footprint is the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeths. This effort will free DHS from many expensive leases, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings in rental and energy costs for the federal government.”
Chairman Carper has been a leader in the ongoing effort to encourage the federal government to better manage their real estate portfolios. Last year, he introduced bipartisan legislation 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. The Federal Real Property Asset Management Reform Act of 2013 (S. 1398) also established an expedited process through which unneeded federal property can be disposed of more quickly. The bill was approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last July. The measure was also included as part of the Carper-Coburn Postal Reform Act of 2014, which was approved by the Committee in February.