WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham successfully added a provision to legislation designed to save taxpayer money by getting rid of unused and underutilized federal property.
Lujan Grisham’s amendment, based on problems with the Albuquerque Social Security Office, would require the federal government to consider the public’s access to agency services before deciding to make changes to federal properties, such as relocating office space.
“Last year, the Social Security Office in Albuquerque moved to an office downtown where there was very little street parking, no designated handicapped parking and no handicapped drop-off zone,” Lujan Grisham said during Thursday’s hearing on the legislation. “In addition, the move forced visitors to start paying for parking, which was burdensome to many no-income or low-income individuals who often must make multiple trips to the Social Security Office.
“Given that Social Security claimants and beneficiaries are often disabled, the lack of safe, disabled parking or a drop-off zone created serious accessibility and safety issues for individuals with limited mobility.”
Lujan Grisham’s amendment was added to H.R. 4665, the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act, which was approved Thursday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The bill will be considered by the full House of Representatives. Rep. Lujan Grisham also introduced her own legislation that further addresses public access to federal agencies.
The Preserving Public Access of Federal Buildings Act would require agencies to notify Congress and the public of any changes, and the public would have the ability to comment on the move. The agency would evaluate and address any access issues that may occur as a result of the move with particular emphasis on vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, minority groups, the elderly, and the economically disadvantaged.