The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Majority of federal office buildings unoccupied, report finds

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst called on the Biden administration to condense office buildings at a Senate Republican leadership press conference on Tuesday.
Sen.+Joni+Ernst%2C+R-Iowa%2C+talks+with+constituents+at+an+early+morning+meeting+in+the+Hart+Senate+Office+Building+in+Washington%2C+D.C.%2C+on+Wednesday%2C+April+6%2C+2022.+
Gabby Drees
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, talks with constituents at an early morning meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, announced the findings of a Government Accountability Office report on Tuesday, which revealed that the majority of federal office space is unoccupied due to extensive teleworking for federal employees. 

Ernst called on President Joe Biden’s administration to condense the federal office space that goes unused or to require federal remote workers to come back to work in person. 

“Almost four years after COVID-19 temporarily closed federal buildings, not a single government agency is occupying even half their office space,” Ernst wrote in a statement to The Daily Iowan. “Iowans shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for empty buildings! Forgive me for sounding like the Grinch, but this Christmas, I’m calling on Biden’s bureaucrats to deck the agency halls with federal workers or sell off unused space.” 

According to Forbes, close to 33 million Americans will work remotely by 2025. 

RELATED: Ernst calls for Washington federal employees to come back to work in person

The report analyzed the in-person utilization of 24 federal agency headquarters in Washington,D.C., from January through March 2023. 

The report found that the least used office spaces were in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration headquarters, with 7 percent average use. 

The report also found that the most used office space was the U.S. State Department’s headquarters, which has 49 percent average use. The U.S. Department of Justice came in second place with 31 percent.

Ernst introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill in October, which passed by voice vote, that reduced bureaucrats’ pay based on the level of telework that they did and from where they worked remotely. 

Ernst also demanded an investigation into remote working and its effect on workers’ productivity during remarks on the Senate floor in September. 

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
he/him/his
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Gabby Drees, Photojournalist/Videographer
(she/her/hers)
Email: [email protected] Gabby Drees is a photo editor and film maker at The Daily Iowan. She is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and political science.