Denham Urges New GSA Commissioner to Utilize Civilian BRAC Process to Eliminate Waste within the Agency

Sep 5, 2012 Issues: Government Waste

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, today called on the General Services Administration (GSA) to include Denham’s proposal, the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA), as part of their plan to overhaul the agency’s Public Building Service and improve the process of disposing of excess and underutilized properties.

“In the face of a $16 trillion debt, it’s time we get serious about eliminating waste and increasing efficiency in our government.  My bill, the CPRA, will shrink the federal real property footprint and save billions of taxpayer dollars by selling what we don't need and better utilizing what we keep,” said Chairman Denham. “It is our duty to give the American people the effective, efficient service that they deserve, and this is one way we can work together to end the mismanagement and wasteful spending within the GSA and enact real reform with this agency.”

Passed by the House in February 2012, Denham’s legislation, the Civilian Property Realignment Act (H.R. 1734), parallels the Department of Defense’s Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) process to decide how to dispose of the federal properties and address chronic management issues and waste as it relates to federal real property. Chairman Denham’s latest efforts to encourage cooperation between the General Services Administration and Congress comes after acting GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini this week named Dr. Dorothy Robyn, a former Defense Department official who oversaw the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) process, as the new Commissioner for the Public Buildings Service.

“In fiscal year 2009, the federal government wasted more than $1.7 billion in operating under-utilized buildings. It’s clear we have the potential to save billions of taxpayer dollars, and our challenge is to a create system where it will happen,” Denham continued. “As we continue to investigate and ensure transparency within the organization for the American taxpayers, we are hopeful that Dr. Robyn’s experience working with the DoD’s BRAC process will encourage greater innovation and cost efficiency within the GSA by utilizing CPRA to streamline the process and ensure the effective and efficient sale or consolidation of these properties, resulting in huge cost savings for taxpayers.”

Denham’s CPRA would employ the use of a civilian BRAC-like process for disposing of unneeded and underutilized federal properties to improve the management of federal property, shrink the government’s footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars. The legislation would establish a framework through which an independent commission would review federal properties and make recommendations for consolidations, co-locations, redevelopment, selling or other actions to minimize costs and produce savings for the taxpayer.

Throughout the duration of the 112th Congress, Chairman Denham has led a series of Subcommittee field hearings at various vacant and underutilized federal properties around the country to highlight the need to save billions of taxpayer dollars by improving management of federally owned assets and property. In 2009, the operation of underutilized federally-owned buildings cost taxpayers $1.7 billion, and another $134 million for excess buildings, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates CPRA could generate $15 billion in revenue from property sales, in addition to the billions more generated from future cost avoidance from simply owning less property.