Washington, DC – Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) today led a congressional hearing on cutting waste in the management of federal property.
The hearing focused on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Capital Investment and Leasing Program. Denham and the Subcommittee recently wrote to GSA’s Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck, who testified today, requesting information regarding the agency’s inventory of properties. Although the agency provided some of the information requested, it did not respond in full.
Denham stated that the Subcommittee will not approve any leases from GSA until the agency provides all of the requested information, including data on money losing properties, that will help the Subcommittee conduct effective oversight of federal property management. Chairman Denham also requested recommendations on how to streamline the process of obtaining information from GSA. Commissioner Peck agreed to provide the requested information to the Subcommittee. Denham ensured Peck that the Subcommittee plans to maintain open communication with GSA in order to help eliminate government waste and underuse of federal properties.
“I am hopeful that all of the other departments will work with GSA and with the Committee in order to get a complete list of properties, their costs and revenue streams,” said Denham. “We need fast answers. We want to work together to make sure that these answers are available to the public.”
The following is Chairman Denham’s statement from today’s hearing:
“The hearing today is focused on the General Services Administration’s Capital Investment and Leasing Program and examining ways to cut spending and consolidate federal office space. Today, we are reviewing the 2012 Program and the remaining lease prospectuses from the 2011 Program.
“Given the financial crisis facing our country we simply must reduce the amount of money we spend to house federal employees. Excess and underutilized properties must be eliminated, the price we pay for space has to be controlled, and agencies will have to house more people in less space.
“The Committee intends to scrutinize each project from this perspective in order to determine if they will save taxpayer money.
“We received the President’s proposed 2012 budget nearly a month ago. That budget proposes to spend $840 million on construction and acquisition projects and $869 million on repairs and alteration projects. The budget includes funding for specific projects, including ports of entry, FBI consolidations, and the repair and alteration of other federal buildings.
“Our committee just received GSA’s Fiscal Year 2012 Capital Investment Program yesterday, nearly a month after the release of the President’s budget.
“Year after year, this subcommittee has requested GSA provide its Capital Investment Program early in the year so that we can act in a timely fashion. I do appreciate that we did receive the program prior to this hearing, and hope that we can work with GSA on ensuring timely submission in the future.
“I also want to thank Mr. Peck for his response to the letter, signed by all the Members of this subcommittee last week, requesting access and information from the Federal Real Property Profile database regarding GSA properties.
“I do remain concerned, however, that some of our requests remain outstanding. For example, in January, GSA briefed Subcommittee staff on the lease prospectuses still pending from the 2011 Leasing Program, and staff requested information on many of those projects. Responses to those requests were only received yesterday.
“In addition, at the hearing we had last month, Members of the Subcommittee asked for information to be submitted. Many of those deadlines are today, including:
- The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Old Post Office Building or an explanation to the Subcommittee why the RFP has not been released.
- A list of properties losing money on an annual basis in the National Capital Region.
- Recommendations on any changes needed to existing law to streamline the property disposal process.
“I hope we will receive these responses soon along with the other information requested at that hearing.
“The Administration’s goal of addressing the problem of unneeded and underutilized assets is one that is shared by this subcommittee.
“It is critical that we have access to relevant information and in a timely fashion so that we can effectively work with GSA and the Administration on proposals to stop waste when it comes to our public buildings and facilities. I look forward to working with Mr. Peck on these issues.”
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