Disposal of Excess Federal Property Could Save Taxpayers Billions

May 6, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today sent a letter to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglass Elmendorf requesting that CBO provide an official cost estimate of President Obama’s proposed “Civilian Property Realignment Act.” The White House estimates the bill could save taxpayers as much as $15 billion by expediting the disposal of superfluous federal property. The Oversight Committee has legislative jurisdiction over policies affecting the disposal of federal civilian properties.

“Our mission is to deliver American taxpayers a more efficient, effective government and implementing a streamlined process to dispose of excess federal property is crucial to achieving that goal,” said Chairman Issa. “The federal government has struggled for decades to manage its civilian real property assets, so the Administration’s framework building off the proven Base Closure and Realignment Commission is welcome. As Chairman of the Committee with jurisdiction over federal civilian real property disposal, I look forward to working with all stakeholders to save taxpayers potentially billions of dollars through the sale of unneeded government buildings and land.”

According to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) testimony delivered before Congress last month, the federal government has roughly 14,000 buildings and structures designated as “excess,” and approximately 55,000 properties classified as “underutilized.” It costs taxpayers nearly $1.7 billion annually to operate underutilized federal buildings, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In June 2010, President Obama instructed federal agencies to generate at least $3 billion in savings through the consolidation and disposal of real property assets by the end of Fiscal Year 2012. Last month, OMB testified that agencies have identified $1.7 billion in savings toward that goal.

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