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“YES” on H.R. 1734, the “Civilian Property Realignment Act.”
February 7, 2012
NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 1734, the “Civilian Property Realignment Act.” Introduced by Rep. Denham (R-CA), this bill would establish an ongoing, systematic process for disposal of federal real property assets.
Currently the federal government owns and manages some 900,000 buildings and structures and 41 million acres of land worldwide. In 2009, the Office of Management and Budget found that the U.S. taxpayers were on the hook to maintain approximately 14,000 excess buildings and 76,000 underutilized properties, at an annual cost of $1.7 billion each year.
H.R. 1734 would help to alleviate those costs through creating a commission of presidential appointees (with consultation from Congress) tasked with compiling packages of recommendations on unneeded civilian properties (including a near-term list of at least five “high-value assets”). Procedures under the bill would encourage timely presidential transmission and congressional consideration of the commission’s reports. H.R. 1734 tends to emulate the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) model that proved successful in helping the armed services to shed superfluous infrastructure. There are some legitimate concerns with this legislation, including the $20 million appropriated for the commission’s expenses, the potential for politics to dominate the appointment process, and the lack of an up-front offset for the $62 million fund to help agencies manage the transition following the sale of their assets. Nevertheless, we believe the potential long-term gains from selling unneeded federal property, coupled with the year-over-year savings accrued from reduced maintenance costs, will result in a net positive for taxpayers as well as sound fiscal stewardship.
Roll call votes on H.R. 1734 will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Government Affairs Manager Brandon Greife at (703) 683-5700