Federal agencies would be able to use a streamlined process to dispose of unneeded properties as part of an effort to slash the size of the federal real property inventory, under bipartisan legislation approved last week by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The federal government is sitting on thousands of federal properties that could be consolidated or sold. Because it doesn’t dispose of them, it wastes millions of taxpayer dollars each year in overhead costs. This bill will simplify and accelerate the disposal process for these costly properties,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the bill’s sponsor, said after his committee approved the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act Dec. 9.
The measure would establish a process to eliminate the red tape agencies face when trying to eliminate unneeded properties, according to a press release. The bill would create a Federal Real Property Reform Board and require that at least $500 million in unneeded properties be disposed of in the initial phase of sales. Proceeds from these sales will be used to carry out more property disposals, resulting in savings in operations and maintenance. The board also would submit recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to improve the disposal process.
Johnson introduced the measure along with Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and James Lankford (R-Okla.). The bill marks the latest effort by Congress to spur the federal government to shed excess properties. OMB first proposed changes and a civilian BRAC in 2011. The legislation is available on Johnson’s website.