H.R. 1640, Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015, as amended

H.R. 1640

Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015, as amended

Date
June 23, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 1640, the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 1640 was introduced on March 25, 2015, by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote, on May 20, 2015.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1640 requires the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), not later than 90 days after enactment, and in coordination with the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), to submit to specified congressional committees a report on the DHS headquarters consolidation project within the National Capitol Region. The bill requires that the report include the following:

  1. A proposed occupancy plan for the consolidation project that includes specific information about which Department-wide operations, component operations, and support offices will be located at the site, the aggregate number of full time equivalent employees projected to occupy the site, and schedule estimates for migrating operations to the site;
  2.  A comprehensive assessment of the current and future real property needed by the Department in the National Capital Region in order to carry out the mission of the Department to secure the homeland and defend the Nation against future acts of terrorism.
  3.  An analysis of the difference between the current and needed capital assets and facilities of the Department.
  4. A current plan for construction of the headquarters consolidation at the St. Elizabeths campus that includes–
    • the estimated costs and schedule for the current plan; and
    • any estimated costs savings associated with reducing the scope of the consolidation project and increasing the use of existing capacity developed under the project.
  5.  A current plan for the leased portfolio of the Department in the National Capital Region that includes–
    • the total rentable square feet, number of personnel, and proposed utilization rates;
    • the replacement and consolidation plan, including–
      • an end-state vision that identifies which Department-wide operations, component operations, and support offices do not migrate to the St. Elizabeths campus and continue to operate at a property in the leased portfolio;
      • the number of full time equivalent employees who are expected to operate at each property, component, or office; and
      • timing and anticipated leased terms, for leased space under the plan referred to in paragraph (4); and
    • the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the headquarters consolidation project.
  6.  A detailed list of alternatives considered by the Department during the development of the plan referred to in paragraph (4), including the costs and benefits of alternatives to such plan.

The bill also requires the DHS Secretary, not later than 180 days after submitting the report required by the bill, to complete the update of the cost and schedule estimates for the portions of the consolidation project that are incomplete as of such date based on information included in the report.

Finally, the bill requires the Comptroller General, not later than 60 days after completion of the required cost and schedule estimates, to evaluate the quality and reliability of such estimates and report to specified congressional committees on the results of its review.

Background

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report recently found that DHS and GSA “planning for the DHS headquarters consolidation does not fully conform with leading capital decision-making practices intended to help agencies effectively plan and procure assets.”[1]  The report recommended that DHS and GSA “develop revised DHS headquarters plans that reflect leading practices for capital decision making and reliable cost and schedule estimates.”[2]  GAO also stated that “Congress should consider making future funding for the project contingent upon DHS and GSA developing plans and estimates commensurate with leading practices.”[3]

According to the bill sponsor, “the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters consolidation project has been mismanaged, skyrocketing past its cost and completion estimates. This bill will fully codify the recommendations outlined by the Government Accountability Office and provide improved management of the project and increased transparency to the American people.”[4]

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[1] See GAO Report—“Federal Real Property:  DHS and GSA Need to Strengthen the Management of DHS Headquarters Consolidation,” September 2014 at Highlights.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] See Press Release—“Homeland Security Freshmen Announce Initiative to Curb Waste, Fraud, Abuse & Increase Transparency at DHS,” March 30, 2015.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 1640 would cost less than $500,000, assuming the availability of appropriated funds. Because enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.