While promoting his new book, March to the Majority: The Real Story of the Republican Revolution, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich went on a rant about the Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Office Building in San Francisco.
[Note: The 18-story building was named after former Speaker of the House Pelosi in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 which President Biden signed into law in December 2022. Key tenants of the building include the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USDA, SSA, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the office of Congresswoman Pelosi.]
As seen in the video below, not only does Gingrich object to politicians (Pelosi) having things named for themselves while they’re alive (“I think it’s just, it’s disgusting”), but he also objects to the current vacancy of the building. Federal workers in the downtown building — at the intersection of 7th and Mission — were recently “advised to work from home indefinitely because of crime in the area.”
Gingrich argues that if the Pelosi building is “that dangerous maybe we oughta sell it.” He suggests “getting rid” of all vacant federal buildings and federal employees whom he suggests are not working because they are not performing their duties in the physical building. He says, “We might be able to eliminate 20 percent of the federal workforce just by saying ‘Congratulations, you’ve proven that your job doesn’t exist.'”
Federal buildings are generally managed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which owns and leases over 363 million square feet of space in 8,397 buildings in more than 2,200 communities nationwide.
In July 2023, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that shows that federal buildings “remain underutilized due to longstanding challenges and increased telework.” The GAO reviewed 24 federal agencies in a three-week sample period across January, February and March of 2023 and found that “agencies used an estimated 39 to 49 percent of the capacity of their headquarters on average.”
On August 4, President Biden called for his Cabinet to get federal employees to work more in their offices this fall.