T & I Approves Carson FPS Legislation and Funding for Bean Center
The Honorable André Carson
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Full Committee Markup
H.R. 6194, “Real Estate Assets and Leasing (REAL) Reform Act of 2018
June 27, 2018
Good morning. I join my colleagues in supporting H.R. 6194, the “Real Estate Assets and Leasing (REAL) Reform Act of 2018”. This bill builds on our hard Committee’s work to reform the General Services Administration (GSA) Public Building Service.
I’d also like to thank Chairman Barletta and our new Subcommittee Ranking Member Titus for including my bill language to reform and modernize the Federal Protective Service. These provisions have been previously approved by our Committee, and the House, but unfortunately they were not taken up in the Senate.
As a former cop, I know that these provisions to improve the effectiveness of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) are long overdue. Twenty-three years ago, on April 19, 1995, the Murrah Building was bombed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In the aftermath of this bombing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) assessed the vulnerability of Federal office buildings in the United States, particularly to acts of terrorism and other forms of violence. DOJ made several recommendations, including upgrading the Federal Protective Service (FPS) and bringing each Federal facility up to minimum standards suggested for its security level.
The reforms in today’s legislation begin to address those recommendations in a meaningful way. These reforms include creating a national framework for the 13,000 contract guards that are protecting federal buildings, employees, and visitors every day. It creates a minimum level of training for these Protective Service Officers or (PSOs) while providing authority for PSOs to carry firearms and detain suspects accused of a felony on federal property.
By requiring minimum standards and having the Attorney General develop guidelines for detentions on federal property, I believe FPS will be better able to protect federal employees. Other provisions require FPS to focus on their core mission of securing federal buildings and will allow them to have a more comprehensive approach to providing security to the buildings in GSA’s inventory.
The bill also requires Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to study whether it has a sufficient amount of law enforcement officers and inspectors necessary to regularly conduct security assessments of federal facilities. Another provision requires a study of whether the FPS’s funding fee structure is sufficient to fund the necessary strong law enforcement presence needed.
I believe it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the millions of federal workers and daily visitors to federal buildings. With increased oversight and additional legislative authority I believe the Federal Protective Service can fulfill its mission.
I hope that we can continue to work together in a bipartisan manner on this Committee. Together, we can continue to put forward common sense reforms that allow both GSA and FPS to be good stewards of our nation’s public buildings.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
More details about the provisions can be found on page five of this summary.