Most federal agencies are preparing to do more with less, but the head of the General Services Administration has a more direct way of describing Washington’s austere nature.
While the government has been asked to go on a budgetary “diet” before, “Today we the government are having our stomach stapled,” GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said Monday.
Johnson, who can never seem to go more than few sentences without using a colorful metaphor, also said during a speech at the GovGreen Conference in Washington that upcoming budget cuts mean her agency — which builds, owns and leases federal facilities — likely will have to stop new construction projects this year.
“No new buildings in our future if you really look hard at the numbers,” she said, according to the Federal Times.
A GSA spokesman later confirmed Johnson’s comments.
GSA has already abandoned plans to finish a long-planned renovation of its downtown Washington headquarters, in favor of completing similar projects for the Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies.
The agency is expecting sharp cuts: House appropriators aren’t setting aside any new money for federal construction and are proposing just $280 million for building repairs. In the Senate, appropriators are setting aside $280 million for repairs and $56 million for new construction. The White House wanted $840 million for new construction — but that’s unlikely to happen.
Worse for GSA, the federal building fund, which is used to pay rents on leases and make renovations — is expected to get $7.2 billion in fiscal 2012, dropping to its lowest levels in five years.
GSA’s portfolio is also under presidential orders to slim down: Agencies plan to part ways with a combined $3.5 billion in office space by the end of the fiscal year on orders from President Obama.
An earlier version of this story incorrectely reported the amount of money Senate appropriators budgeted for GSA construction funding.
Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost