Press Releases

Committee Approves NRC Lease that Will Save Taxpayers $150 Million

Reports Elimination & Sleep Apnea Bills Also Passed

Washington, DC, Dec 4, 2013 | Jim Billimoria, Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today approved several measures, including a lease renewal for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that will save taxpayers nearly $150 million.

The proposal was the result of Members of the Committee and the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee insisting that federal agencies reduce their space footprint and cut costs. 

“Americans across the country continue to face an economy that requires them to tighten their belts and make the best use of limited financial resources.  Federal agencies must do the same – in fact they need to set the example,” said Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).  “We have worked together to ensure that the NRC and other agencies will use their space more efficiently and save the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“It was a long road to travel to arrive at this agreement with the NRC, but it was a journey well worth taking,” said Economic Development Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA).  “We’re saving taxpayers $200 million dollars on the NRC deal and the others we’re agreeing to – on top of the $500 million we’ve already saved in this committee by making smarter use of federal properties.  I commend the agencies involved for working with members of this committee from both parties to get a better deal for taxpayers.” 

Earlier this year, the Subcommittee held a hearing that focused on the NRC’s actions, in which they circumvented the Full Committee’s $38 million authorization for additional office space and instead committed taxpayers to a $350 million new building (White Flint 3).  Despite obtaining this excessive and unnecessary new building, the NRC then requested to renew another expiring lease (White Flint 2) and essentially decided to walk away from the $350 million building.  The Committee refused this proposal, and instead required the NRC and the General Services Administration to propose options that would better utilize the NRC’s space and save money.

The proposal authorized by the Committee today renews the White Flint 2 lease, under the condition that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) backfills about 60% of the new White Flint 3.  This will consolidate FDA employees from four locations with expiring leases, and improves the agency’s utilization rate to 170 square feet/person.  And because the NRC’s decision to first acquire the White Flint 3 space represented a more expensive rental rate than the Committee would normally authorize, the FDA will pay the normal authorization level and the NRC has agreed to account for the difference.  The proposal also improves the NRC’s overall utilization rate to 200 square feet/person.  This represents a savings of $145,815,390 over 15 years.

The Committee also approved several other GSA lease resolutions that will save taxpayers an additional $50 million through increased efficiency and utilization rates.  Click here for chart that shows the savings represented by these resolutions.

In addition, the Committee approved two bills:

  • A bill introduced by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), and other Committee members to ensure that any regulatory changes by the Federal Aviation Administration requiring screening, testing, or treatment of pilots or air traffic controllers for a sleep disorder follow the appropriate notice and comment process (H.R. 3578)
  • The Transportation Reports Elimination Act (H.R. 3628), a bill introduced by Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV) to eliminate, consolidate, and modify certain reporting requirements for agencies within the Committee’s jurisdiction.

“This is a basic good-government bill,” said Shuster in support of H.R. 3628.  “It does not reduce Congressional oversight of these agencies, but rids them of outdated reporting requirements, consolidates others, and increases transparency by making some continued reporting activity available online.   This bill will enable agencies to focus more time and effort on their important work.”

More information about today’s markup can be found here.

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