House panel offers property management flexibility

The House Government Reform Committee Thursday approved a measure aimed at enhancing the federal property management by giving agencies more control over their landholdings.

Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., said the bipartisan measure, H.R. 2548, requires the General Services Administration to create inventory of all federal property, streamline property disposition processes and give agencies the flexibility to lease, exchange or sell property.

"We think H.R. 2548 will set the federal government on the right course," Davis said.

The federal government currently controls more than 3.2 billion square feet of property valued at $328 billion.

The bill, introduced June 19 by Davis and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, contains many of the property management reforms endorsed by the Bush administration and included in the president's management agenda.

The panel by voice vote added an en bloc amendment by Davis that makes withholding property records because of national security subject to existing law, requires scoring of property agreements to comply with government standards and, in certain cases, calls for completion of a cultural resource survey and comprehensive preservation plan before property is sold, transferred or leased.

The committee also approved by voice vote an amendment by ranking Democrat Henry Waxman of California increases GSA's role in calculating cost estimates for property agreements.

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