H.R. 665: Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act of 2011

H.R. 665

Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act of 2011

Date
March 20, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 665 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on February 11, 2012 and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 665 would create a pilot program to dispose of unneeded federal real property in an expeditious and efficient manner with the goal of maximizing profit.  H.R. 665 would direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to work with the General Services Administration (GSA) in establishing and conducting the pilot program for five years, to be studied by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

The bill would specify that properties selected by GSA and OMB for disposal would be placed on a rolling list of 15 properties.  The pilot program would waive existing statutory provisions that slow down the disposal process or lead to no cost conveyances of property.  The bill would require that the GSA Administrator dispose of the properties through a public auction, and 100 percent of the net proceeds from the sales of properties would be returned to the Treasury for debt reduction. 

The bill would require that out of the proceeds, up to two percent would be authorized to be appropriated and made available through a grant program for homeless assistance providers to purchase or rehabilitate real property strictly for use by the homeless.

H.R. 665 would also make permanent changes to the standard disposal process which would still function contemporaneously with the pilot program.  The bill would give GSA enhanced authorities to better assist agencies dispose of unneeded property.  H.R. 665 would require agencies to continuously monitor their property portfolio and dispose of any unneeded properties in a timely manner.

Background

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the federal government currently holds more than 10,000 excess properties and spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually to maintain them.  GAO estimates that the federal government has over 45,000 properties that are under-utilized.  In addition, GAO estimates that taxpayers spend over $1.5 billion per year to operate properties that are empty or unnecessary. 

According to OMB, there are properties within the federal real property portfolio which can be sold to raise revenue.  Current law does not provide incentives for agencies to dispose of these unneeded assets.

According to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reform to the archaic and byzantine disposal process is long overdue and greatly needed to get these properties out of the federal inventory.  Allowing agencies to retain net sale proceeds is recognized by experts both in government and the private sector as a successful way to incentivize agencies to sell more property.