Hearing slated to discuss selling off some federal buildings

Denham, along with ranking member Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and 14 other committee members, sent a letter March 2 to General Services Administration (GSA) Commissioner Robert Peck asking for list of unused federal property. 
Since a hearing three weeks ago, Denham said the GSA has only sent a artial list of properties but without "pertinent revenue information," and warned that he would issue subpoenas, if necessary. 

In fiscal year 2009, the federal government spent $1.7 billion in annual operating costs for underutilized buildings and $134 million annually for excess buildings. 

A civilian BRAC process, which would establish a  process of evaluating federal space needs, Denham said.

During a hearing on March 10, Denham said he wouldn't approve any leases from GSA until the agency provides all the information he has requested including building address, square footage, estimated market value, how much the property costs the federal government to maintain, current building capacity and current building use.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration in March announced the identification of 14,000 vacant government buildings to sell, saving upward of $15 billion over three years, well ahead of initial savings estimates of $3 billion. 

President Obama issued a memorandum in June 2010 setting a target of $3 billion in savings through closure of underutilized properties by 2012. The latest announcement sets the bar much higher, at $15 billion in savings.

The White House is forming an independent board of private and public sector leaders that will help cut through the "red tape, financial barriers, political interests that’s why the government owns thousands of properties it doesn’t need, and is wasting taxpayer dollars.” said Jeff Zients, the federal chief performance officer and the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.

Congress would then vote on whether to accept the board’s recommendations on an up-and-down vote. Congress also has to approve creation of the board.

The federal government owns and operates more than 1.2 million buildings costing about $20 billion a year to operate, he said.