A rare bipartisan accord: Sell stuff

Sept. 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Several elected officials in Washington said selling federal property is one budget-reduction idea that may appeal to Democrats and Republicans alike.

"This is something we can have bipartisan agreement on," said Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., The New York Times reported Thursday.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., a member of the supercommittee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years, said what amounts to a federal yard sale would likely find support among Democrats and Republicans.

A property sale, however, would have many twists and turns from attempts to sell sentimental favorites to sales of property with environmental concerns, such as Plum Island, N.Y., an 840-acre island that is the former home of the federal Animal Disease Center.

Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, reportedly supports the idea, which President Barack Obama has included in budget plans.

The government has more than a million properties and could realize about $22 billion from selling property it no longer needs and public airwaves currently dedicated to broadband television, the Times said.

Of the $22 billion, 80 percent would come from the sale of airwaves the Obama administration has said would be best put to use serving broadband wireless.

In some regards, selling federal property would be a quick way to raise money if it weren't for the federal bureaucracy that would get in its way. A bill in the House sponsored by Denham and one in the Senate sponsored by Scott Brown, R-Mass., would create a commissions to streamline the process, the Times said.

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