For Immediate Release  Contact:  Jim Campi
June 5, 1997 (202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Calling it a “huge victory for taxpayers,” Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz today applauded the House of Representatives for passing an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 1757) offered by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.).  The Bachus amendment requires the State Department to sell off unneeded overseas real estate and use the proceeds to reduce the deficit.

            In its 1997 Prime Cuts Catalogue, CAGW highlighted the need for the State Department to implement the principles contained in Bachus’ amendment.  CAGW cited a 1996 General Accounting Office (GAO) report which identified more than 100 State Department properties which could be sold without jeopardizing the department’s mission.  According to GAO, the estimated value of the properties is $467 million.  Included among them is an eight-acre lot in Morocco valued at $430,000, which is currently being used by the King of Morocco as an orange grove.

            “The real winners are American taxpayers,” Schatz said.  “Not only will the government be eliminating the costs associated with these unneeded properties, but funds from the sales are specifically earmarked for deficit reduction and forbidden from being used by the State Department for other purposes.”

            The amendment, which passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of  277-146, must still survive the Senate authorization process before the entire Foreign Relations Authorization Act is sent to the White House for the President’s signature.

“The Senate and the President should do the right thing and keep the provisions of the amendment intact,” Schatz added.

CAGW is a 600,000-member lobbying organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency and mismanagement in the federal government.  For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Jim Campi at (202) 467-5300.

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