Amid National Issues, “Return to Work” Getting Congressional Attention

When President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he is expected to challenge the House Republican majority on several issues including the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

Also getting attention from Congress are return-to-work and related office vacancy matters. Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed legislation to force federal agencies to end teleworking policies that were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the House Republican-backed bill stands no chance of being approved in the Democrat-controlled Senate, it did draw attention to the impact of continuing hybrid and return-to-work patterns on the office sector, with some questioning the level of office space needed by the federal government going forward. High office vacancy rates and federal incentives to facilitate the adaptive reuse of vacant and underutilized commercial buildings are issues of interest for commercial real estate and part of NAIOP's legislative and regulatory priorities in 2023. Last week, NAIOP members attending the association’s Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat (CL&LR) met with their congressional representatives to advocate for these priority issues.