Massachusetts Senator Introduces Bill to Streamline Federal Property Disposal

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) last week introduced companion legislation to a measure moving in the House that would slash thousands of unneeded federal properties via a Civilian BRAC Commission.

Brown has been working with Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), whose bill, H.R. 1734, was approved in May by the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. The text for Brown’s bill is not yet available, but it is believed to be largely similar to that of H.R. 1734. Both are named the Civilian Property Realignment Act.

Momentum to reform the bureaucratic process for getting rid of excess properties is apparent in the Senate as well. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, is expected to introduce similar legislation to encourage federal agencies to dispose of thousands of unneeded properties. Brown is the ranking member on that panel.

In addition to accelerating the disposal of surplus properties and generating revenue for the Treasury, Brown’s bill would consolidate federal activities into smaller space, realign the real estate inventory to better reflect the needs of a modern workforce and pare the number of costly leases.

Key elements of Brown’s legislation include:

  • Establishes an independent, seven-member commission;
  • Requires a one-time expenditure of $88 million;
  • Civilian properties could be sold, demolished, transferred, exchanged, consolidated, co-located, reconfigured or redeveloped;
  • Commission will identify at least five properties with a total value of at least $500 million not currently on the government’s list of excess properties that can be sold;
  • Commission will submit its recommendations for property disposal and realignment to the president; if approved, the recommendations would go to Congress, where they would become law if a resolution of disapproval is not passed;
  • Agencies would have three years to dispose of properties currently considered excess;
  • After the approval of commission’s recommendations, agencies will have up to one year to begin action and three years to complete transactions; and
  • Agencies could retain up to 40 percent of net proceeds.
Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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