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GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan Delivers Oral Testimony to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee


Chairwoman Titus, Ranking Member Webster, and Members of the Subcommittee - it's my honor to join you today.

I’m pleased to be here as GSA Administrator on behalf of our employees and to talk about our mission, which has never been more important.

I know this Committee has been interested in GSA’s efforts to keep our federal buildings safe and operational throughout the pandemic. So I’d like to start by thanking the Committee for its support and also acknowledging the tireless work of the GSA team in responding to the pandemic. I can tell you that the work of our Public Buildings Service and our Federal Acquisition Service these past two years has been heroic. They’ve acquired and distributed huge amounts of supplies, amended thousands of service contracts to ensure more cleanings, and helped many, many federal, state, and local partners meet their emergency needs. My written testimony has more details, and Commissioner Albert and I would be happy to address any questions that you may have about this important work. 

Like me, I know this Committee is also interested in: what comes next? So I appreciate the chance to be able to join you here today and outline what I see as GSA’s biggest opportunities in the months and years ahead.  

First, I want to acknowledge that President Truman’s original purpose for creating GSA in the first place remains our North Star, to streamline government so it works better for the people we serve and to save money doing it. That mission hasn’t changed. But, especially coming out of this pandemic in which all of us have had to adapt to new ways of working, the way GSA delivers on that mission certainly has and will continue to change.

In our real estate portfolio, that means finding ways to both “right size” in light of our partners’ changing needs and rebalance our portfolio and consolidate whenever possible into owned buildings that offer customers the type of new workspaces they need.  A number of those new offerings are already in progress, like the “office in a box” concept and pilot projects that will allow agency staff to access federal and private co-working spaces that can offer both shorter commute times and secure work environments.  

In our government-wide acquisitions, it means becoming the marketplace of choice for our partners by making it so easy, fast, and cost effective to buy through GSA that it would make no sense for agencies to look anywhere else. In order to create that kind of marketplace it’ll also require us to make it easier, faster and cheaper for businesses, especially small businesses and those from underserved communities, to access and sell to government buyers. 

And when it comes to technology, it means making smart bets on creating a suite of secure shared services that all agencies at every level of government can access to improve the way they deliver services to the public and save money.

We all witnessed the problems caused by outdated and hard to use government technology throughout the pandemic and the toll that took on families across the country. We know that when we make government websites work better for people at their time of need, it isn’t just about a website. It’s about showing that our government can and does work effectively for the people it serves.

Of course, to accomplish all of this, we need Congress’s support. That’s why the president’s budget request, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the reconciliation package are so important.  

  • Those funds will allow us to repair and upgrade public assets, providing an historic opportunity to consolidate agencies from costly leased space into federally-owned space; make our buildings safe, sustainable  and resilient to future emergencies; and create adaptive, flexible space better suited for the workforce of the future.  
    • This includes modernizing more than 30 land ports of entry - supporting border security while promoting trade and commerce.  
  • With this funding, we can also do our part to combat climate change by 
    • reducing greenhouse gas emissions in federal facilities by 95 percent,
    • putting more than 150,000 zero emission vehicles onto the roads - along with charging infrastructure at our public buildings -  and 
    • helping the government lead by example by dramatically reducing its carbon footprint.
  • We can also make long deferred and sorely needed investments in our digital infrastructure, so we can deliver secure, accessible, and reliable services to agencies and the public.

Overall, these investments will allow GSA to make the critical upgrades we need to ensure our government can effectively and efficiently deliver for the public now as well as be better prepared for the future. Whether you’re a teacher, construction worker, small business owner or a Member of Congress, I believe that these investments make sense. I look forward to partnering with this Committee in the years ahead, and I look forward to answering any questions you have today.