Gluesenkamp Perez, Edwards Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Cut Wasteful Spending on Government Office Space

Nov 06, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Rep. Chuck Edwards (NC-11) introduced the bipartisan Federal Use it or Lose it Leases (FULL) Act. The bill seeks to reduce wasteful government spending on office space that the federal government does not use. 

The federal government’s office leases cost taxpayers more than $6 billion a year, but reports of unused space in federal buildings have increased with continued telework by government employees. A Government Accountability Office report found that 17 out of 24 major federal agency headquarter buildings were less than 25 percent occupied, with some less than 10 percent full. 

Even during a maximum telework period, federal agencies managed to spend more than $1 billion every year on new furnishings between 2020 and 2022. At present, occupancy in federal Washington, D.C. offices is less than 54 percent of pre-pandemic levels. With more than half of all current federal leases set to expire in the next five years, the FULL Act would prevent the government from continuing to purchase expensive building leases and office furniture while large percentages of its workforce continue to telework. 

The FULL Act requires: 

  • Federal tenants to submit an annual report on monthly total occupancy and space utilization to the General Services Administration (GSA).
  • Federal tenants have written procedures in place for returning office space to the GSA if the space is used less than 60 percent of the time for six months or more within any one-year period.
  • Independent leasing authorities to submit reports to congressional committees of jurisdiction on occupancy and space utilization.

“Flexibility in where federal employees work has let public servants spend more time coaching Little League and less time commuting in traffic – and telework has been especially beneficial for our rural communities. But federal policy needs to keep up so taxpayers don’t foot the bill for empty office space,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “The bipartisan FULL Act will help inform how leases are renewed and ensure unused space can be effectively repurposed. I’m grateful for Rep. Edwards’ partnership on this effort to reduce government waste and ensure your tax dollars are used responsibly.”

“The FULL Act will help prevent taxpayers from footing the bill for unused federal office space by making sure the federal government only leases the office space it needs and will use. As federal telework levels remain high, agencies’ D.C. HQ offices are sitting mostly empty,” said Rep. Edwards. “This legislation will enable Congress to effectively perform oversight of government spending on office leases by requiring federal agencies to use it or lose it.”

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