Senate Committee Approves Property Disposal Legislation

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved a measure intended to streamline the process for federal agencies to eliminate thousands of unneeded buildings and facilities.

The 2013 Federal Real Property Asset Management Reform Act establishes a pilot program to dispose of up to 200 properties each year, with priority going to those with the highest value. The General Services Administration would be reimbursed for the costs of identifying and preparing a property for disposal. Eighty percent of sale proceeds would be returned to the Treasury for debt reduction while 18 percent, or the share of proceeds otherwise authorized to be retained under law, would be retained by the agency that owned the property; the remaining 2 percent would be used to fund homeless assistance grants.

The measure also would address vulnerabilities in current law by requiring agencies to continually evaluate their property needs and how they manage their current property inventory, according to a summary of the bill.

Every year since 2003, the Government Accountability Office has placed real property management on its list of “high-risk” government activities, citing long-standing problems with excess and underutilized property, deteriorating and aging facilities, unreliable property data and a heavy reliance on costly leasing instead of ownership to meet new needs.

S. 1398 is available on Thomas.

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