May 23 2012 -
U.S. Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA), which would reduce the number of underutilized federal properties in order to save taxpayers an estimated $15 billion over the next 10 years. According to the Government Accountability Office, the federal government wastes $1.7 billion per year on the maintenance and operation of over 45,000 underutilized properties.
“I am pleased to announce this bipartisan effort with Senator Warner to save taxpayer dollars and reduce the deficit by eliminating excess federal properties,” said Senator Brown. “We have a debt crisis, and despite the very real danger it poses to our economy, we spend billions every year on maintaining empty buildings. The federal government must get smarter with taxpayer dollars. I believe our bill cuts through the red tape and streamlines the disposal process fairly and effectively.”
"We should be taking a portfolio approach to the way we manage federal real estate," Senator Warner said. "By taking a businesslike approach to our current inventory, and aggressively looking for ways to consolidate and dispose of unneeded real property, we can make a meaningful dent in deficit reduction and reduce maintenance and operating costs for years to come."
According to GAO, the federal government wastes $1.7 billion annually on the maintenance and operation of over 45,000 underutilized real properties. The Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA) is bipartisan legislation – initially proposed by President Obama – that will reduce the deficit by downsizing the federal real estate portfolio.
CPRA establishes an independent Commission, comprised of real estate management experts charged with reviewing the federal property portfolio and developing recommendations for consolidation or disposal. The primary goal of CPRA is to reduce operational expenses of the federal government to support deficit reduction. The Commission will issue a report to the President recommending individual leased or government owned properties that should be consolidated or disposed to produce the best value for the taxpayer. Upon approval by the President, the recommendations will be submitted to Congress, which will have 45 days to pass a resolution of disapproval. If no such resolution is passed, the Commission’s recommendations will gain full legal force. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that CPRA will save taxpayers $15 billion over the next 10 years.
The Civilian Property Realignment Act will do the following:
Establish an independent commission to downsize federal real estate. The Commission will have seven members appointed by the President and Congress to independently evaluate the federal real estate portfolio and develop recommendations twice a year for 6 years.
Develop disposal and consolidation plans with expedited review. The recommendations developed by the Commission will be reviewed by the President within 30 days and Congress will have 45 days to disapprove of the proposal. Agencies will have up to 3 years to carry out the recommendations.
Mitigate stakeholder interests and reduce red-tape. The legislation will streamline the existing processes that have prevented down-sizing and realignment in the past that will generate long-term savings.
Limits leasing authority for greater efficiency. Sets limits for agencies independent leasing authority so most leases are coordinated through the General Services Administration.
Provides Congressional transparency for the Federal Real Property Profile. Provides access for Congressional Committees of jurisdiction and legislative support agencies to real property data to support greater accountability.
Reduces the Deficit. The legislation requires that a minimum of 80% of net sale proceeds and savings from the operating and maintenance costs go towards deficit reduction.