Barletta’s Reform of Public Buildings Passes House
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today guided his bill to save taxpayers billions of dollars by reforming the handling of federal office space and real estate to passage on the floor of the full House of Representatives. Barletta’s bill, H.R. 4487, the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016, could end up saving taxpayers at least $500 million each year. The bill passed the House on a voice vote and now will head to the Senate for its consideration.
“Within five years, half of all federal leases will expire,” Barletta said. “To give some perspective on how much space that represents – that’s 100 million square feet of space or 32 new World Trade Centers in New York. And, more than half of the total real estate inventory is in commercial leased space, costing the taxpayers more than $5.5 billion each year. How we replace these leases has a huge impact on the costs to the taxpayer.”
The legislation increases accountability and oversight of the agency responsible for securing and protecting thousands of federal buildings. Barletta’s legislation could result in a 20 percent reduction in lease costs and save taxpayers more than $500 million annually, even without accounting for savings through reductions in space. The bill also includes language that will give the General Services Administration (GSA) a better ability, where appropriate, to use Public-Private Partnerships to meet space needs, leveraging private dollars to offset costs. In his role as subcommittee chairman, Barletta has held numerous hearings in Washington, DC and different regions of the country, providing oversight and holding federal bureaucrats at the GSA accountable for their use of office space and taxpayer resources.
“When we reduce the amount of office space agencies are leasing, it directly reduces the costs to the taxpayer,” Barletta said. “And, with the large number of leases expiring in the near future, we now have a ripe opportunity to save even more by negotiating better rental rates and concessions.”
Barletta’s efforts as Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management have already saved taxpayers more than $3 billion by reforming the way the federal government manages its real estate portfolio.