ASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said two of her top priorities were included in the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016, which Norton cosponsored and was passed today by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The committee unanimously passed Norton’s amendment to require buildings owned or leased by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to provide private, hygienic lactation spaces for visitors and guests to pump or breastfeed.
Federal law requires dedicated lactation spaces be made available for employees at federally owned or leased buildings, but Norton said that nursing mothers who visit federal buildings should also be entitled to use private spaces to pump breast milk for their babies, too. Norton’s amendment does not require that a new or exclusive space be permanently set aside only for lactation, but space must be available as needed. The Congressional Budget Office found no cost associated with the Norton amendment. GSA serves as the landlord for federal civilian government agencies.
The bill also includes Norton’s provision directing GSA to sell or exchange the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Forrestal Complex, at 1000 Independence Avenue SW, and to use the funds to construct a new, smaller, and more efficient DOE headquarters that Norton says will free up a new large space for mixed-used development. The Norton provision clearing the way for development of the Southwest Mall area complements the ongoing development of the Southwest Waterfront, known as The Wharf, achieved through another Norton bill. Her new provision is expected to spur new economic development in the Southwest section of the National Mall area, transforming it into a modern and sustainable urban neighborhood of mixed-use development, in addition to saving taxpayer dollars.
“Today was a good day for our provisions on very different subjects,” Norton said. “I appreciate the support for my common-sense amendment, which I dubbed the ‘Motherhood Amendment,’ to provide nursing mothers visiting federal buildings in the District of Columbia and across the country with appropriate lactation spaces. Providing lactation spaces for all employees is already federal policy because breastfeeding has been proven to have tremendous health benefits for both infants and mothers.
“My provision directing GSA to develop a smaller DOE headquarters in Southwest D.C. is mundane, but very valuable. It will free up new opportunities for mixed-use development that will benefit the District.”