CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, April 18, 2016, the House will consider S. 1638, the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on June 18, 2015, by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and was referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which ordered the bill reported favorably, without amendment, on June 24, 2015. The bill was passed with amendments by Unanimous Consent in the Senate on April 6, 2016.
(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;
(3) A current plan for construction of the headquarters consolidation at the St. Elizabeths campus that includes –
(A) the estimated costs and schedule for the current plan; and
(B) any estimated costs savings associated with reducing the scope of the consolidation project and increasing the use of existing capacity developed under the project;
(4) A current plan for the leased portfolio of the Department in the National Capital Region that includes–
(A) the total rentable square feet, number of personnel, and proposed utilization rates;
(B) the replacement and consolidation plan, including–
(i) 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;
(ii) the number of full time equivalent employees who are expected to operate at each property, component, or office; and
(iii) timing and anticipated leased terms, for leased space under the plan referred to in paragraph (4); and
(5) 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.
In addition, the bill requires the Comptroller General, not later than 90 days after completion of the required cost and schedule estimates, to evaluate the quality and reliability of such estimates and report to Congress on the results of its review.
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.” 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.” 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.”
The House previously voted on similar language during consideration of H.R. 1640. The Legislative Digest for that bill can be found here. H.R. 1640 passed the House by voice vote on June 23, 2015. The primary difference between H.R. 1640 and S. 1638 is the time provided to complete required reports.
 See GAO Report—“Federal Real Property: DHS and GSA Need to Strengthen the Management of DHS Headquarters Consolidation,” September 2014 at Highlights.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 1640 would cost less than $500,000, and much of the information needed for the DHS and GAO reports has already been compiled. Further, enacting this legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, therefore pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.