As we look at our fiscal situation, the President understands that the Federal Government must do what American families are doing all across the country: find ways to live within our means and invest in the future. That means cracking down on waste and getting the most from taxpayer dollars.
Since President Obama took office, we’ve made unprecedented progress in reforming the way Washington works - saving billions of taxpayer dollars through IT reform, cut contracting spending, and eliminated duplicative and ineffective programs.
In his State of the Union address, the President discussed another area that is ripe for savings and reform -- the real estate footprint of the Federal government. For too long, the American people’s hard-earned tax dollars have gone to waste, funding empty buildings and holding on to valuable properties the government no longer needs. That is something that shouldn’t be tolerated at any time, but especially with this challenging fiscal environment, it’s unacceptable.
Today, we’re sending legislation to the Hill that will cut through red tape and politics to rid the government of the burden of excess property and save taxpayers at least $15 billion. We look forward to working with members of Congress to pass this legislation, the Civilian Property Realignment Act.
One of the most exciting aspects of the legislation is that it leverages the best practices of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program by empowering an independent board of experts to identify significant consolidation opportunities and bundle them for a swift up or down vote by Congress. This cuts through red tape and politics that too often slows down the process of getting rid of excess property and finding other savings in our real estate portfolio (click here to learn more about the legislation).
We also are releasing data on thousands of excess properties across the country and an interactive map that allows you to see which excess properties are on the government’s books in your state so that you can hold Congress and the Administration accountable for our progress. You also can use this site to help us identify other properties in your communities that are not on the excess list but should be sold or otherwise disposed of. These excess properties are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more opportunities to cut waste and save taxpayer dollars by downsizing the federal government’s footprint – and the Civilian Property Realignment Act will allow that to occur. We look forward to working with Congress to get this legislation passed.
Jeffrey Zients is the Federal Chief Performance Officer and the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget.