“Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.”
Once you get a song in your head it’s hard to get it back out. These Stealers Wheel lyrics certainly resonated when listening to the opening of today’s congressional mark-up hearing. Of course, we don’t really regard our politicians and bureaucrats as clowns and jokers but among a growing group of landlords its hard to find a charitable way to view the ongoing battle of wills between Congress and GSA. The landlords are stuck in the middle and they are getting very…very… frustrated.
So, what’s happening? A dozen or so prospectuses are languishing on the Hill awaiting House approval and some of those leases are already in holdover. For a brief moment this week landlords celebrated when the House posted its agenda for today’s hearing that included an item to consider these resolutions. Alas, yesterday afternoon that item disappeared from the agenda.
The House of Representatives, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, opened this morning’s mark-up hearing with the following introduction from Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.):
“We had tentatively proposed to bring up a number of GSA prospectus resolutions today and I have asked that they be removed from the agenda. Very briefly, the reason I asked for their removal was that the General Services Administration has not complied with a request from the Chair since last November. I believe they are trying to comply and I’m hoping that they will comply and we will consider their business when we have cooperation from that agency. The items that are pending and now further delayed – and I view that as their responsibility – are very important and they have physical consequences that are considerable and it is important that this Committee take action on those prospectus in a timely fashion. I intend to do that but I intend to do it only with their full cooperation”.
Though Mica does not specifically identify which “request from the Chair” he is referring to, we must assume it relates to his request that the GSA prepare an “Information Report” to demonstrate how the Federal Trade Commission can be relocated from its current headquarters at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW and moved into Constitution Center. This would allow Mica to achieve his ultimate goal of granting FTC’s historic headquarters building to the National Gallery of Art. In March Congress issued this request as a formal resolution; yet, to our knowledge, GSA has not completed the required study and when they do we aren’t encouraged that Mica will like the results.
So, assuming Mica is going to hold up approval of prospectuses until GSA submits to recommend FTC’s relocation, and assuming GSA may not do that, where does that leave the Landlords if not stuck in the middle?