The Administration supports H.R. 834, but during Senate consideration will
seek to amend the bill's provisions that would make locating federal
facilities in historic districts a priority.
The Administration believes that historic properties are critical to the
health of the civic life of local communities. To that end, Executive
Order 13006 requires, under specific circumstances, agencies to give first
consideration to locating federal facilities in historic properties in
historic districts, especially those in central business districts. As
well, Executive Order 13006 reaffirms the Federal Government's commitment
to locating federal agencies in urban and rural areas. Significantly, the
priorities and guidance contained in Executive Order 13006 represent a
balance of agency decision-making discretion, existing laws, and federal
location priorities that is absolutely critical.
H.R. 834, however, would codify only the provisions of Executive Order
13006 that would make locating federal facilities in historic districts a
priority, while excluding the provisions of the Executive Order that allow
agencies to balance other executive and statutory location mandates. To do
so would make the location process inflexible and could adversely affect
the Government's ability to make operationally appropriate and economically
prudent location decisions.