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MAPPS Applauds Obama Administration’s Willingness to Consider Selling Federal Property to Private Sector

Posted By Beth Hawley, Monday, December 8, 2014

MAPPS was pleased to hear the Obama Administration's announcement that the White House is open to suggestions made by Rep. John Mica (R-FL) in a 2010 report that the federal government step up its efforts to surplus and sell unneeded Federal land and buildings.

As chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mica oversaw the 2010 report Sitting on Our Assets: The Federal Government's Misuse of Taxpayer-Owned Assets. The report outlined ways to reduce, sell or reallocate federal assets with suggested savings to taxpayers, including several billion from real property sales.

"This is something that the Office of Management and Budget has been focused quite a bit under this president's leadership," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said this week. "There has been a concerted effort to reduce costs, to cut red tape, and to deal with surplus federal government assets."

As reported by John Gizzi of Newsmax, Earnest said Mica's report is "certainly something we would take a look at."

MAPPS has long advocated for a current, accurate inventory of all federal property, as well as a reduction in non-essential expenditures and activities that duplicate or compete with activities available in the private sector, and the sale of surplus, unneeded and under-utilized federally owned land and buildings.

As chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mica continued to investigate mismanagement of federal real property assets in the 113th Congress.

"There is an enormous opportunity to reduce the size and cost of government, and make it more efficient, by having an inventory of federal real property, and selling land and buildings no longer needed," said John Palatiello, Executive Director of MAPPS. "There are more than 5.1 million acres of federal land classified as "vacant" with no definable purpose and 3.3 million acres of lands which the Bureau of Land Management has identified through its land use planning process as surplus and suitable for disposal. The sale of such surplus property could not only generate revenue to the government, but also reduce operating and maintenance expenses.  We commend Representative Mica for his leadership and welcome the support and active participation of the Obama Administration.  We also recognize the support of Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), ranking member of Mr. Mica's subcommittee.  This is an area where there can be bipartisan support and cooperation between Congress and the White House in 2015."

Legislation to inventory, evaluate, surplus and dispose Federal real property has been introduced in Congress by Republican Representatives Jason Chaffetz of Utah (H.R. 328 and H.R. 2657), Jeff Denham of California (H.R. 695), Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania (H.R. 2612), Rob Bishop of Utah (H.R. 2095) and by Democratic Senators Tom Carper of Delaware (S. 1382 and S. 1398) and Mark Warner of Virginia (S. 1715).

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