The U.S. House has passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and James Lankford (R-OK) to save taxpayer money by streamlining the federal inventory review process.
Currently, many federal agencies only declare property as excess during periods of transition, such as office moves or space reductions.
This can result in agencies retaining or storing unneeded property that could be utilized by other agencies or in the private sector.
All four Senators are members of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Subcommittee, and Peters and Paul serve as Ranking Member and Chairman, respectively.
The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
“Federal agencies shouldn’t be spending taxpayer money storing equipment they don’t even need while other agencies purchase new items that could be acquired from other federal offices where it’s not needed,” said Senator Peters. “I am pleased this bipartisan legislation to cut down wasteful government spending and save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on unnecessary equipment storage and purchases will be signed into law.”
“Our legislation forces the federal government to look inward to see where it can better use the resources it already has instead of simply assuming it can keep taking more and more from the American people forever. I applaud the U.S. House for taking this practical step and passing this important reform,” said Senator Paul.
“This is a great step toward cutting government waste and using our limited resources more efficiently. Taxpayers rightly expect their government to make the best use of their hard-earned tax dollars and we should consistently pursue efforts like this to root out inefficiencies wherever they exist,” said Senator Jones.
“Federal agencies need to determine what is excess property and sell it or give it to another agency,” said Senator Lankford. “There is no gain to the taxpayer when agencies pay extra storage costs to hoard their unneeded equipment. This bipartisan policy solution gives a clear process for federal agencies to review their inventory to determine necessity and usability. By making simple process changes, we can prevent future waste, continue to develop oversight of federal properties, and save taxpayers money.”
The Federal Personal Property Management Act directs federal agencies to assess property more regularly according to guidance set by the General Services Administration (GSA), including the age and condition of the property and the extent to which the property is used and needed.
The GSA has outlined a government-wide excess property disposal process, but previously lacked the authority to tell agencies how or when to identify excess property.
By implementing this assessment process, agencies can more frequently declare excess property, allowing for its disposal. The legislation also creates a uniform standard for how agencies assess their most valuable property, allowing for a better understanding of the value of the government’s personal property.
When agencies declare a piece of property excess, other federal agencies and certain non-agency recipients have 21 days to claim the property. If unclaimed after 21 days, there is a 5 day period for state agencies to claim property, after which property is declared surplus and made available for sale or donation to the general public.