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Houlahan Votes to Improve Utilization of Federal Office Space and Save Taxpayer Dollars

Houlahan was one of six Democrats to vote in favor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) issued the following statement on H.R. 6276, the Utilizing Space Efficiently and Improving Technologies (USE IT) Act:


“While the USE IT Act is not without its flaws, I voted in favor of it because I firmly believe in the responsible stewardship of federal tax dollars. It's imperative that we address the inefficiencies in our federal office space usage, plain and simple. By implementing standardized occupancy measures and prioritizing projects in buildings with higher utilization rates, we can work toward reducing unnecessary expenses and maximizing taxpayer value. Moving forward, it's essential that we continue to collaborate on a bipartisan basis to tackle this issue, while not eroding flexibility in the workplace that is necessary for many individuals and families,” said Houlahan.


As introduced, the bill calculates utilization of federal office space based on a 5-day, in-person model. In an effort to improve the legislation and acknowledge modern, widely used workplace benefits like remote work, Houlahan authored an amendment that would change the 5-day occupancy measure to a 3-day occupancy. Unfortunately, Houlahan’s commonsense amendment was not taken up by the Rules Committee, although another amendment that would change the 5-day occupancy to 40 hours was successfully adopted.


The final bill passed bipartisanly 217-203.




The utilization rates of federal buildings are not a new issue, but they have become more challenging following the COVID-19 pandemic and related changes to in-office attendance policies. According to a July 2023 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “Seventeen of the 24 federal agencies in GAO's review used an estimated average 25 percent or less of their headquarters buildings' capacity in a three-week sample period across January, February, and March of 2023.”


The USE IT Act requires the heads of federal agencies to submit a report to Congress that includes the actual utilization rate of each building in the agencies’ portfolios, along with the methodology for calculating that rate. Based on those reports, the bill further requires the GSA and OMB to ensure that no building utilization rate falls below 60 percent and, if it does, take steps to reduce or consolidate that space. Under the bill, GSA’s Capital Investment Program must prioritize projects in public buildings where actual utilization is higher than 60 percent. Lastly, H.R. 6276 mandates that GSA and OMB submit a report to Congress that includes a plan to consolidate department and agency headquarters in the National Capital Region, leading to building utilizations of 60 percent or more.


Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governing necessary to move our country forward” and the Congressional Management Foundation’s 2022 Democracy Award for best Constituent Services in Congress.