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House Endorses ‘Civilian BRAC’ Bill

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  • February 7, 2012
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The House approved a measure Tuesday that would create a civilian BRAC commission to expedite the disposal of thousands of unneeded federal properties, helping the government save money by selling or redeveloping high-value properties and avoiding the cost of maintaining ones it no longer uses.

H.R. 1734 is intended to shrink the size of government and help ensure savings by disposing of properties, consolidating federal space, maximizing the utilization rates of space and streamlining the disposal of unneeded assets. It would establish a framework through which an independent, nine-member commission would review federal properties and make recommendations for consolidations, co-locations, redevelopment or sale.

“My bill, the CPRA [Civilian Property Realignment Act], will shrink the federal real property footprint and save billions of taxpayer dollars by selling what we don’t need and better utilizing what we keep,” Rep. Jeff Denham, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, said in a written statement.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates the commission could generate $15 billion in revenue from property sales. Within 180 days after the commission is set up, H.R. 1734 would require the panel to identify five properties for sale worth at least $500 million. The legislation does not apply to military installations or sites deemed essential for national security.

Although the bill is very similar to a White House proposal, OMB on Monday said it doesn’t go far enough to empower the commission to move unneeded properties off the books. While the commission’s proposals would go into effect unless Congress voted against the entire plan under the White House’s favored approach, H.R. 1734 would require a joint resolution by Congress to approve the recommendations, reported the Washington Post.

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) introduced companion legislation, S. 1503, in the Senate last August. That measure was referred to the Environment and Public Works Committee, but has not yet received a hearing.

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