White House Takes on Excess Federal Property
The excess property map comes as the White House is proposing a BRAC-like (Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission) commission for federal property. In addition, deputy OMB director Jeff Zients said that the administration would release the full list of surplus property and that they would push for the streamlining of rules that govern agency sales of federal property.
This is not the first time that President Obama and OMB have targeted excess property. Last year, OMB asked agencies to save no less than $3 billion by 2012 on real estate, which included not only getting rid of unneeded property, but also cutting building operating costs and being more energy efficient. The idea for a commission could presumably help that goal if it is passed and implemented quickly. Nonetheless, the BRAC-esque commission and the other proposed changes are a good way to remove some of the political and legal hurdles to selling excess property.
It seems that the Administration will have a lot of support for this proposal. On Capitol Hill, there are some proposals involving the sale of excess property. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a sponsor of one of those measures, says that he supports the idea of a property commission.
In addition to property, there is the broader question of the sale of certain government assets, which we addressed on The Bottom Line last year. Of course, many of these assets would be more controversial to sell. But sales of assets lawmakers deem appropriate and the sale of excess property are good ways for the government to save a little.