Sen. Carper Hails White House Announcement to Eliminate $3.5 Billion in Excess Federal Property
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, hailed the White House announcement that it will eliminate $3.5 billion in excess federal property through sales, consolidations, cancelled projects, and other efforts to reduce maintenance and utility costs by the end of fiscal year 2012. In its announcement, the Administration officially labeled a multi-million dollar, federally-owned Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) property as excess, commencing the process to sell the property. Sen. Carper has been focused on improving federal property management to make it more cost effective, holding several hearings over the past year and sending reform recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction last week.
The announcement is part of the Administration’s ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste, which includes the goal of identifying $3 billion in excess federal real estate, as directed by Presidential Memorandum titled “Disposing of Unneeded Federal Real Estate”. With $3.5 billion already identified, the Administration is on track to exceed its goal.
“Getting rid of the federal property we don’t need and better managing the property we have so we spend fewer taxpayer dollars is a no brainer, especially when we’re struggling to curb a massive federal deficit,” said Sen. Carper. “I am encouraged that the Administration is making strides in this area and is already on track to exceed its initial goal of identifying $3 billion in excess property. While the numbers vary somewhat on the total costs associated with this problem, there is a general consensus that the federal government is wasting money by not managing federal properties in a cost-effective manner. There’s no silver bullet solution to this problem, but I do think there are some common sense reforms we can put in place. I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that would push agencies to dispose of surplus property using several techniques, including by offering financial incentives to agencies to sell their property. The legislation would also tackle the problem of long-term leasing agreements that often cost more than building ownership. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Administration on this initiative, and I look forward to more progress on this effort as we attempt to do everything in our power to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Sen. Carper held a hearing on the issue of excess and mismanaged federal real estate, most recently in August. In July, Sen. Carper and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent letters to eight federal agencies requesting information on those agencies’ real property disposal initiatives, as part of the effort to curb waste within the federal government.
The White House also released an updated interactive map that shows the locations of over 12,000 properties the Administration has identified as excess, including properties that have already been disposed of. In addition, the Administration released a new dashboard at Performance.gov that further details the federal government’s plans to eliminate excess properties.