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Taxpayers Save Hundreds of Millions of Dollars with FTC-National Gallery of Art Measures

February 16, 2011

Washington, DC – Measures to move the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) out of its aging headquarters into more efficient, modern government-owned office space and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today. The proposals also consolidate the National Gallery of Art, taking taxpayers off the hook for renovating the FTC’s current headquarters and leasing needed space for the Gallery.

The Committee approved both a resolution and legislation (H.R. 690) that seek to achieve the consolidations and savings. The bill was introduced in the House by Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and other Members of the House. The Committee has jurisdiction over federal buildings and the General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that manages federal property.

“This proposal can save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by authorizing GSA to move the FTC out of its aging, insufficient headquarters into government-owned space,” Mica said. “This will increase the efficiency of the agency and more effectively meet its office space requirements.

“Providing this vacated space to the National Gallery of Art will also allow the Gallery to consolidate its multiple facilities, ensure that the necessary renovations for that building are funded by private donations and not taxpayer dollars, and maximize public use of this historic building. Transferring the FTC building to the Gallery would also strengthen the growing cultural vitality of this part of our nation’s capital, another benefit to millions who visit Washington each year,” Mica said.

“According to the Government Accountability Office, the federal government relies excessively on leasing to meet its needs for office space. The federal government needs to better manage its assets and root out waste,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Chair of the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee. “Moving the FTC and transferring the Apex building to the National Gallery of Art will increase government efficiency, potentially reduce our reliance on costly leasing, save taxpayer money, and ensure maximum public benefit of a historic building in a developing Washington cultural center.”

Currently, the FTC partially occupies office space in the federally owned building in Washington, DC known as the Apex building. 450 FTC employees occupy 160,000 sq. ft. of the Apex building’s total 306, 000 sq. ft. The FTC leases an additional 220,000 sq. ft and 56,000 sq.ft at two other D.C. locations, and has proposed leasing more.

The FTC has clearly outgrown the aging Apex building, which it first occupied in the 1930’s, according to President Roosevelt, in order to consolidate the agency and save taxpayer money. The same justifications for originally locating the FTC in the Apex Building again require that the agency be moved into more suitable, more efficient space.

The National Gallery of Art, a federal entity, also leases 60,000 sq. ft. in addition to its primary museum facility across from the Apex building. By transferring the Apex Building to the Gallery, taxpayers are spared the $137 million in necessary renovations of the building. The Gallery is directed to fund renovations by raising funds through private donations.

Gallery lease costs, paid by the federal government, would also be eliminated, saving another $145 million.

“This proposal saves money, meets the FTC and Gallery space needs, and brings greater efficiencies to the operations of both entities,” Mica said.

Note: the Committee also approved the following measures today:

  • H.R. 362, to redesignate the Federal building and United States Courthouse located at 200 East Wall Street in Midland, Texas, as the "George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush United States Courthouse and George Mahon Federal Building,"
  • H.R. 658, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011,
  • H.R. 662, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011

Click here for more information on today's Committee markup.

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