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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2016-04-18

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, I rise in strong support of S. 1638, the ``Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act.'' I support this bipartisan legislation because it would move DHS forward in accomplishing the important objective of establishing a home for the Department's many components and agencies.

    Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was appointed as the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security in the White House.

    [[Page H1772]] In November 2002, I was proud to join my colleagues in voting to create a Department of Homeland Security.

    On March 1, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security official became a Cabinet-level department charged with the responsibility of unifying national homeland security efforts.

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created through the integration of all or part of 22 different Federal departments and agencies into a unified, integrated Department.

    S. 1638, directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the General Services Administration (GSA), to submit information on the implementation of the enhanced plan for the DHS headquarters consolidation project within the National Capital Region, approved by the Office of Management and Budget and included in the budget of the President for FY2016, that includes: a proposed occupancy plan with specific information about which DHS- wide operations, component operations, and support offices will be located at the site, the aggregate number of full time equivalent employees projected to occupy the site, the seat-to-staff ratio at the site, and schedule estimates for migrating operations to the site; a comprehensive assessment of the difference between the current real property and facilities needed by DHS in the Region to carry out its mission and its future needs; an analysis of the difference between the current and needed capital assets and facilities of DHS; a current plan for construction of the headquarters consolidation at the St. Elizabeths campus that includes the estimated costs and schedule for the current plan and any estimated cost savings associated with reducing the scope of the project and increasing the use of existing capacity developed under the project; An important goal of S. 1638, is an evaluation of the current plan to determine the leased portfolio of DHS throughout the Region that includes an end-state vision that identifies which DHS-wide operations, component operations, and support offices do not migrate to the St. Elizabeths campus and continue to operate at a property in the leased portfolio.

    The bill will result in real numbers regarding the total compliment of full-time equivalent employees who are expected to operate at each property, component, or office for each year until the consolidation project is completed.

    S. 1638, identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the consolidation project, including a comparison of the long-term cost that would result from leasing to the cost of consolidating functions on government-owned space and the identification of any cost impacts in terms of premiums for short-term lease extensions or holdovers due to the uncertainty of funding for, or delays in, completing construction required for the consolidation.

    Mr. Speaker, since DHS initiated its headquarters consolidation in 2006, it has progressed despite changes in senior leadership and waning funding support from Congress.

    As a result, in April 2015, DHS and GSA announced that the construction sequence and timetable for the headquarters consolidation would be adjusted to reflect reduced funding by Congress.

    DHS must now re-compete up to 69 percent of its commercial leases in the National Capital Region as they are scheduled to expire between 2016 and 2020.

    I urge all of my colleagues to join me in strong support of the suspension bill, S. 1638, the ``Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act.'' The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Duncan) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, S. 1638.

    The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.

    A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.


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