WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, delivered his weekly “Waste of the Week” speech and highlighted millions of taxpayer dollars spent by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on warehouse space.
DHS owns or leases a number of warehouses across the country. In fiscal year 2013 alone, DHS spent $60 million to own or lease a total of 1,628 warehouses that occupy 6.3 million square feet.
“That’s about the size of 110 football fields,” said Coats. “No one is contesting the need to be prepared for disasters or the need for warehouse space in different locations around the country. But as is the case with all government agencies and their use of taxpayer dollars, we need to ensure that their operations are run in an efficient and effective manner.”
A recent report by the DHS Inspector General (IG) found two DHS warehouses that are ripe for elimination, potentially saving taxpayers about $9.7 million over 10 years.
The first building the IG identified is a 54,000 square foot warehouse in Northern Virginia that DHS leases for $934,000 each year. The IG found that DHS mainly uses this facility to store printer paper and leftover furniture. Over the next decade, eliminating this lease could produce $9.3 million in taxpayer savings.
DHS also leases a 6,500 square foot warehouse in Northern California for $74,000 annually. The IG noted that the warehouse is “mostly empty.” The few items that the IG did find onsite consisted of “old computers, broken equipment, old office furniture and some books.” If DHS ended the remainder of this lease, taxpayers would save roughly $376,000.
“By eliminating just two of the 1,000-plus warehouses DHS uses, taxpayers could save $9.7 million over the next decade,” said Coats.
Click here to watch Coats speak on the Senate floor.