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Denham Asks Deficit Reduction Committee to Consider Civilian BRAC Measure

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  • October 20, 2011
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Legislation advancing in the House that would create a civilian BRAC commission to expedite the disposal of unneeded federal properties should be included in the final recommendations of the congressional deficit reduction committee, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), the bill’s sponsor, said Thursday.

There are tens of thousands of underused or vacant properties across the country that if sold, could result in $15 billion in taxpayer savings, Denham, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, told the panel.

“One thing that we should all agree on is that the sale of unneeded federal property is one of the few bipartisan ways to save taxpayer dollars,” he wrote.

In his letter, he highlighted language in the legislation, H.R. 1734, identifying specific properties and transactions that should result in more than $500 million in savings within five years. Those include the sale of one of the Washington headquarters buildings used by of the Department of Energy, vacant property in Washington and land in Los Angeles slated to be the site of a new federal courthouse, along with the transfer of the Federal Trade Commission’s headquarters to the National Gallery of Art.

“Each of these transactions takes underutilized, yet valuable federal properties, and sells them, redevelops them, maximizes their space utilization and/or attracts private investment,” Denham wrote.

H.R. 1734, which would establish a framework through which an independent commission would review federal properties and make recommendations for consolidations, co-locations, redevelopment or sale, was approved last week by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In a separate letter, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) offered the deficit reduction panel a plan to encourage agencies to dispose of thousands of unneeded properties. That plan shares many of the same goals as H.R. 1734, but does not call for the creation of a civilian BRAC commission. Carper is chairman of the Senate subcommittee overseeing federal real estate.

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