Civilian BRAC bill clears subcommittee mark-up

Wednesday - 5/25/2011, 7:02pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

A House bill to consolidate and sell civilian federal buildings cleared a subcommittee mark up vote today.

The Civilian Property Realignment Act mimics the Defense Department's Base Realignment and Closure process. The proposed legislation would create an independent commission to review federal properties for consolidation, co-location, redevelopment or sale.

The legislation would save taxpayers billions of dollars, said bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif) and chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure's subcommittee on public buildings, which passed the mark up today.

"Today marked the next step towards consolidating our federal footprint, increasing government efficiency and saving billions of taxpayer dollars." Denham said in a statement.

In an interview with Federal News Radio earlier this month, Denham said the independent commission will take the politics out of the property streamlining process.

He told Federal News Radio, "The goal would be to sell several billion dollars off next year. I personally would like to see fifteen billion in the first year. That's a high target to hit, but it's only scratching the surface on the overall surplus property throughout the nation."

The Office of Management and Budget has already taken steps to carry out the provisions in the bill. In early May, OMB issued a memo to set up a Real Property Advisory Committee consisting of three senior real property officers and four chief financial officers from major agencies. The OMB memo acknowledged the impact of telework on the lessened need for federal workspace.