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                                                       Calendar No. 356
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2nd Session                                                    109-214

======================================================================



 
                EMERGENCY LEASE REQUIREMENTS ACT OF 2005

                                _______
                                

                January 26, 2006.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Inhofe, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [to accompany S. 1708]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill (S. 1708) to modify requirements relating to 
the authority of the Administrator of General Services to enter 
into emergency leases during major disasters and other 
emergencies, having considered the same reports favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the most 
destructive natural disasters in our nation's history, struck 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida. 
This hurricane affected a total of 83 properties in the General 
Services Administration (GSA) inventory providing more than 3.1 
million rentable square feet to house approximately 2,600 
Federal employees from 28 different agencies (67 leased 
locations totaling more than 1.3 million rentable square feet 
and 16 owned locations totaling more than 1.7 million rentable 
square feet).
    Section 3307 of title 40, United States Code, details the 
process by which the General Services Administration (GSA) is 
granted authority to construct, alter or acquire any building 
to be used as a public building or lease space for public 
purposes. This process involves submission by GSA of a 
prospectus for the project and resolutions of approval by both 
the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the 
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. A 
prospectus is required only for projects exceeding a set cost, 
however, although that set cost may be adjusted annually by the 
Administrator to reflect increases or decreases in construction 
costs. For leased space, the law sets the limit at an average 
annual rental in excess of $1,500,000; the actual prospectus-
level cost for leased space in fiscal year 2005 is an average 
annual rental in excess of $2,410,000.
    Past experience with emergency leasing showed that a 6-
month lease term (180 days) for prospectus-level space was 
unattainable, due to the reluctance of building owners to agree 
to such short-term leases for office space with GSA because 
competitors are able to offer longer lease terms. In addition 
to this challenge posed by the market, circumstances arising 
from natural disasters or other unforeseen events will likely 
necessitate locating displaced Federal workers in emergency 
housing solutions for greater than the currently allowed 180 
days.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    S. 1708 modifies the requirements relating to the authority 
of the Administrator of General Services to enter into 
emergency leases during major disasters and other emergencies. 
These modifications will ensure that the Administrator is able 
to provide adequate space to house affected Federal tenants in 
the wake of disasters.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title.
    This section provides that this Act may be cited as the 
``Emergency Lease Requirements Act of 2005''.
Sec. 2. Emergency leases.
    This section amends 40 U.S.C. 3307(e) to include disasters 
declared by heads of Federal agencies under applicable Federal 
law, extend the maximum length of an emergency lease from not 
more than 180 days to not more than 5 years and adds a 
requirement for the Administrator to submit, by April 1 of each 
year, to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works 
and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure a 
report describing any emergency lease entered into during the 
preceding year.
Sec. 3. Effective date.
    This section clarifies that this Act and the amendments 
made by the Act affect only those leases entered into after 
August 1, 2005.

                          Legislative History

    On September 15, 2005, Senators Inhofe, Jeffords, Vitter, 
Lieberman, Bond, Carper, Warner, Clinton, Chafee, Landrieu, 
Murkowski and Thune introduced S. 1708, a bill to modify 
requirements relating to the authority of the Administrator of 
General Services to enter into emergency leases during major 
disasters and other emergencies. The bill was read twice and 
referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. The 
committee met on November 17, 2005, to consider the bill. The 
bill was ordered reported favorably without amendment by voice 
vote.

                                Hearings

    No committee hearings were held on S. 1708.

                            Roll Call Votes

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 1708 on November 17, 2005. The bill was ordered 
favorably reported by voice vote. No roll call votes were 
taken.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee finds that S. 1708 
does not create any additional regulatory burdens, nor will it 
cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that S. 1708 would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:
                              ----------                              

S. 1708, Emergency Lease Requirements Act of 2005, As ordered reported 
        by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on 
        November 17, 2005
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1708 would have no 
significant impact on the Federal budget. Enacting the bill 
would not affect direct spending or revenues. S. 1708 contains 
no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the 
budgets of State, local, or tribal governments.
    Under current law, the General Services Administration 
(GSA) is responsible for leasing privately owned properties for 
use by Federal agencies. Spending for such activities is 
subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts for annual 
lease payments. Leases that are estimated to cost more than 
$2.4 million must be approved by the congressional committees 
with jurisdiction over GSA. During emergency situations, 
however, GSA is authorized to agree to leases for up to 180 
days without approval of the congressional committees with 
jurisdiction over GSA.
    S. 1708 would amend current law to allow GSA, following a 
major disaster, to enter into emergency lease agreements of up 
to 5 years without the approval of congressional committees 
with jurisdiction over GSA. Based on information from GSA, CBO 
estimates that the proposed change in leasing procedures would 
not significantly affect GSA's current operations and spending 
patterns. CBO expects that the bill would not have a 
significant impact on spending for GSA leases following the 
recent hurricanes in the Gulf coast. This legislation could 
lead to faster Federal spending following disasters if the 
Federal Government is forced to relocate operations to leased 
space, however, any such spending would be subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds.
    On November 14, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 4125, a bill to permit the Administrator of General 
Services to make repairs and lease space without approval if 
the repair or lease is required as a result of damages to 
buildings or property attributable to Hurricane Katrina and 
Rita, as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure on October 26, 2005. The two 
pieces of legislation are similar in providing additional 
emergency leasing authorities for GSA, but S. 1708 has broader 
emergency leasing authorities. The cost estimates are 
identical.
    The CBO staff contact is Matthew Pickford. This estimate 
was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman:
                              ----------                              


                            [40 U.S.C. 3307]

            TITLE 40--PUBLIC BUILDINGS, PROPERTY, AND WORKS

                SUBTITLE II--PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND WORKS

                            PART A--GENERAL

         CHAPTER 33--ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION, AND ALTERATION

SEC. 3307. CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL OF PROPOSED PROJECTS

    (a) Resolutions Required Before Appropriations May Be 
Made.--

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    [(e) Emergency Leases by the Administrator.--This section 
does not prevent the Administrator from entering into emergency 
leases during any period declared by the President to require 
emergency leasing authority. An emergency lease may not be for 
more than 180 days without approval of a prospectus for the 
lease in accordance with subsection (a).]
    (e) Emergency Leases by the Administrator.--
            (1) In general.--Nothing in this section prevents 
        the Administrator from entering into an emergency lease 
        during a major disaster or other emergency declared 
        by--
                    (A) the President under section 401 of the 
                Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
                Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170); or
                    (B) the head of a Federal agency under 
                applicable Federal law.
            (2) Lease term.--The term of an emergency lease 
        under this subsection shall be not more than 5 years, 
        unless the prospectus of the lease is approved under 
        subsection (a).
            (3) Report.--Not later than April 1 of each year, 
        the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on 
        Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Environment and 
        Public Works of the Senate a report describing any 
        emergency lease entered into under this subsection 
        during the preceding fiscal year.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *