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Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Hearing (Oral Testimony)

Statement of the Honorable Daniel M. Tangherlini (as prepared)
Administrator of the General Services Administration
Before The House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government

April 8, 2014

Good afternoon Chairman Crenshaw, Ranking Member Serrano, and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today.

My name is Dan Tangherlini, and I am the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration.  GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people.

Before I go any further, I would like to thank the Chairman, Ranking Member and committee staff for their hard work on the Fiscal Year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, especially in the current funding environment.  I also want to take a moment to introduce new leadership at GSA:  Denise Turner Roth, GSA’s new Deputy Administrator, and Norm Dong, GSA’s new Commissioner for Public Buildings.  Denise is unable to join us today, but Norm is here and seated behind me.  Both are dedicated public servants and will help us as we continue on the path to improved efficiency at GSA.

GSA’s FY 2015 budget request seeks to build upon the progress made in FY 2014. While we have started to address years of backlogged repairs, there is still significant work to do.  We need to ensure that our buildings can support the work of government in the 21st century. This Budget provides essential funds to support our public infrastructure, while also growing our economy, creating jobs, and saving money for the American taxpayer.

Perhaps most importantly for the federal government’s real estate inventory, the President’s Budget requests that the rent agencies pay into the Federal Buildings Fund be reinvested back into our publicly-owned buildings.  These investments will meet the urgent needs of partner Federal agencies and preserve these public assets for future generations. Every dollar GSA can spend on repairs can save four dollars in potential costs later.

In order to provide much needed investments in our Nation’s public infrastructure, GSA’s FY 2015 budget request includes more than $1 billion in repair projects.  These range from crucial life safety upgrades to full-scale modernizations. 

In addition, the budget looks to continue critical investments along the border by providing $420 million for three border crossings: the Alexandria Bay Land Port of Entry in New York, the Calexico Land Port of Entry in California, and the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry in Southern California.

These facilities are vital to our country’s security and economy. San Ysidro is a perfect example of this. Every day 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians enter the United States at San Ysidro, making this the busiest border crossing in the world. Using these funds, we would finally complete our work on this important project after 10 years. These improvements would ease traffic throughout the region, promote economic growth, and better equip the Department of Homeland Security to ensure our nation’s safety.

Another national security priority in this budget is a $250 million request to continue our consolidation of DHS at the St. Elizabeths Campus. Consolidations such as this are essential to operating an efficient and effective government. Building on the progress from last year, GSA has again requested $100 million to continue our work to support our partner agencies’ efforts to streamline their space.

The FY 2015 budget request also includes more than $240 million in much-needed funds for critical programs at GSA. By supporting the Office of Government-wide Policy and the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, GSA will continue to provide our partner agencies and the American public with tools and services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of the Federal government.

As I reported to the Committee last year, when I came to GSA, we undertook a top to bottom review of the agency.  Through that effort, we consolidated major functions of the agency to eliminate redundancy and improve oversight and accountability.  GSA continues to consolidate and streamline key administrative service functions to improve efficiency and better align our own internal operations. These reforms are already reducing costs.  GSA has:

  • Reduced the Working Capital Fund by $39 million, or 5.6 percent.
  • Saved more than $310 million through more efficient spending on printing, advisory services, and IT devices, including $68 million in travel costs.
  • Cut more than 380 full time positions.
  • Reduced indirect costs by more than $130 million.

GSA has also seen significant savings through our ongoing programs:

  • We have helped agencies save more than $300 million through our Strategic Sourcing initiative.
  • Cut our leased inventory by 5 million square feet.
  • Saved $193 million in avoided energy costs by improving our energy efficiency.

We expect further reductions and savings as we move forward, and will continue to keep the Committee updated.

The President’s budget provides the investment we need to help rebuild our nation’s public building infrastructure, ensure that federal agencies can support economic and job growth in communities across the country, and provide vital services for the public.  I appreciate all your work on the Fiscal Year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, and I want to continue our partnership to make sure this is not an isolated investment, but a foundation for long term, sound management of our government’s infrastructure. Thank you again for the opportunity to testify today and I look forward to answering your questions.
 

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House appropriations committee, testimony