GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said a House bill would cut GSA's 2014 budget to a level that would cause the agency to default on rent payments. (Mike Morones / Federal Times)
Fiscal 2014 budget cuts being voted on Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee would force the General Services Administration to default on rent payments, according to the agency’s top official.
Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a blog post that the legislation would give the agency only enough funds to pay 85 percent of its rent to private-sector building owners.
“We may have to default on leases; close facilities; or even, in some extreme cases, breach our contracts, which would result in lessors charging higher leases for federal agencies,” Tangherlini said.
The bill would provide nearly $2.5 billion less than the agency’s fiscal 2014 budget request for its public buildings fund. The bill authorizes $7.5 billion for fiscal 2014 — $476 million below what the agency was authorized to spend in fiscal 2013.
The bill would provide a total of $635 million for new construction and renovation: $100 million in construction and renovation funding for courthouses: $125 million to be used at the discretion of the FBI director; and $50 million for new construction and $260 million for renovations for the rest of the GSA portfolio. The legislation would also provide $100 million to consolidate federal office space and reduce the rent paid by agencies.
In comparison, GSA requested more than $816 million for new construction and about $1.3 billion for renovation and repairs to existing buildings.
Tangherlini said that deferring maintenance and repairs to federal buildings would result in more costly repairs in future years.
“Every family who owns a home knows that shorting the maintenance budget is only going to spell trouble down the road,” he wrote.