WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced today that the Senate passed the Federal Property Management Reform Act, legislation Portman co-authored to save taxpayer dollars by improving how the federal government manages its buildings and other property across the country. It is now ready to be signed into law by the president. The legislation, which unanimously passed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year, will 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 leases, and establish a council to develop uniform guidance for agency property managers to follow and share best practices in property management among agencies.
“Ohioans are faced with mounting costs to their healthcare, taxes and more. The last thing they need is to be footing the bill for easily-solved government inefficiencies,” said Senator Portman. “This bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers millions by making the government more efficient and by helping to ensure that the government moves surplus properties off the books and I’m pleased the Senate passed it. This is a common-sense solution to a growing problem and I look forward to the president signing it into law.”
The federal government’s real property holdings are vast and diverse, incorporating hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanent structures across the county, 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 would:
· Require agencies with leasing authority to maintain a current inventory of all leases, including information about the cost and location of the lease, as well as the value of the legal obligations of the federal government over the course of the contract;
· 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; and
· Direct federal agencies to develop workforce projections to assess the needs of the federal workforce regarding the use of real property, and to submit to the Federal Real Property Council an annual report on all excess real property belonging to the agency.