What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : (H.R. 1734) On passage of legislation to sell property that the federal government owns but does not need (2012 house Roll Call 38)
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(H.R. 1734) On passage of legislation to sell property that the federal government owns but does not need
house Roll Call 38     Feb 07, 2012
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on final passage of legislation designed to reduce the federal government’s portfolio of property. The bill would establish a commission to identify property that the government no longer needs. By selling off the property, members of Congress hoped to both raise money in the short term and save money in the long term by eliminating the cost of upkeep.

President Obama had pursued an initiative to sell off unused federal property, and Republicans touted the idea as an opportunity for bipartisan action to reduce the deficit.

“Our federal government has a horrible track record of selling properties that aren't being used,” Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) said. “We can do much better, and the American taxpayers demand that we do much better. Here's a bipartisan opportunity to get both parties to come together and just sell things that we don't need. If you want to bring in revenue to reduce our debt, here's an opportunity to get rid of the things we don't need, redevelop the things that aren't being used, and get rid of the waste in government.”

However, Democrats said that while they supported the idea of selling unneeded property, they objected to a number of items in the Republican bill, including a waiver of rules requiring a full environmental review before selling property. They said Republicans had turned a bipartisan concept into a partisan wedge.

“Both Democrats and Republicans agree that we need a system to dispose of and consolidate excess federal property,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said. “However, the bill before us does not reflect the bipartisan compromise I agreed to… This is a tragic collapse of what had been a bipartisan process.”

The bill was passed by a vote of 259-164. Voting “yea” were 238 Republicans and 21 Democrats. Voting “nay” were 163 Democrats, including a majority of progressives, and 1 Republican. As a result, the House approved legislation that would create a commission to identify unneeded federal property to sell. However, to become law, the bill would need to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president.

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