Gluesenkamp Perez’s Bipartisan Amendment to Cut Wasteful Spending on Government Office Space Passes House

Mar 13, 2024
Press
Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez speaks on her bipartisan amendment to the USE IT Act.

Yesterday, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Rep. Chuck Edwards’s (NC-11) bipartisan Federal Use it or Lose it Leases (FULL) Act passed the House of Representatives as an amendment to the USE IT Act which now heads to the Senate for consideration. The FULL Act amendment will reduce wasteful government spending on office space 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 amendment would prevent the government from continuing to purchase expensive building leases and office furniture while large percentages of its workforce continue to telework. 

“Flexibility in where federal employees work has allowed public servants to spend more time coaching their kid’s Little League team and less time commuting in traffic – and telework has been beneficial to rural communities like mine. But federal policy needs to keep up so taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for empty office space,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez on the House Floor. “Instead of wasting tax dollars on empty buildings and their landlords, we should be using them to replace our crumbling infrastructure. I’m grateful for Congressman Edwards’s partnership on this bipartisan, common sense effort to reduce government waste and be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

“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.”

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez’s floor speech can be viewed here.

Full text of the amendment is available here.

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