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Carper Offers Proposal to Reform Property Disposal to Deficit Reduction Panel

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  • October 16, 2011
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Amid a flurry of proposals sent by fellow lawmakers last week to the congressional deficit reduction committee, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee overseeing federal real estate offered the panel a plan to encourage federal agencies to dispose of thousands of unneeded properties.

While it shares many of the same goals as legislation currently moving in the House, H.R. 1734, the plan submitted by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) seems to differ in many respects. It does not call for the creation of a civilian BRAC commission, for instance, although that may be because Carper intends for his “draft legislation” to build on a proposal included in the president’s fiscal 2012 budget request. That plan includes a civilian BRAC commission and is largely similar to H.R. 1734.

At a June hearing of his subcommittee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Carper indicated he would propose legislation shortly. The proposal in last week’s letter to the deficit reduction panel is the closest he’s come to revealing his plan to date. It includes several major provisions, he said:

  • It would establish a property management leadership structure within agencies and OMB, and calls for the creation of a council to guide federal property management policies.
  • Agencies would be required to dispose of surplus property within five years; agencies that fail to comply would not be allowed to buy or lease new property.
  • Agencies would be allowed to retain 25 percent of the proceeds from property sales; proceeds could go toward property management and disposal actions, and must be used within a year.
  • To end costly leases, it would require agencies to track their total amount of leased space; agencies with independent leasing authority would need to gain congressional approval for leases exceeding a certain threshold.
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