King, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Management of Federal Property

BRUNSWICK, ME – February 8, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) has joined with a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce legislation that would improve how the federal government manages its buildings and other property across the country. The Federal Property Management Reform Act of 2016, introduced by Senators King, Tom Carper (D-Del.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.) last night, would establish a framework for federal agencies to better manage existing space in a more cost-effective manner and help facilitate the disposal of unneeded federal property.

Specifically, the Federal Property Management Reform Act would require federal agencies to maintain an up-to-date inventory of the property it owns, incentivize agencies to dispose of excess property by allowing them to retain and reinvest sale proceeds, and establish a Federal Property Council to develop uniform guidance for agency property managers to follow and share best practices in property management among agencies.

“The federal government can and must do a better job managing its property. Today, too many federal buildings are under-utilized, and in many cases, agencies aren’t taking the necessary steps to maximize space or dispose of unused properties,” said Senator King. “That’s not only wasted space, but it’s also wasted taxpayer dollars. Our legislation would take meaningful steps toward ensuring that federal agencies manage their properties more efficiently and that taxpayer money is put to better use.”

The federal government’s real property holdings are vast and diverse, incorporating hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanent structures across the county, and making it the largest property owner in the United States. In fact, every year since January 2003, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) 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.

Specifically, the Federal Property Management Reform Act of 2016 would:

Require agencies to maintain a current inventory of real property, including information about the cost and use of their facilities and how these properties fit into the agencies broader management plan.

Codify and expand the duties of the Federal Real Property Council to ensure this body develops guidance and ensures the implementation of strategies for better managing federal property;
Incentivize agencies to dispose of excess property through retention of the net proceeds of sale as long as those proceeds are used to further disposal activities, investments in federal buildings personnel or for deficit reduction;
Codify the broader management framework of the Administration’s National Strategy for the Efficient Use of Real Property, ensuring these actions become a permanent framework for agency property management;

Build off efforts previously championed by Sen. Carper in the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010.

This legislation represents the second time that Senator King has partnered with Senator Carper to improve federal property management. Last year, the Senators introduced and ushered into law an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that authorized a pilot program to encourage more efficient federal property management by streamlining the process by which the U.S. Army disposes of unused or underutilized properties.

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