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FBI headquarters project set to get $200 million more funding

Some House Republicans criticized the project and funding for it

The front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in Washington.
The front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The fiscal 2024 funding package unveiled early Thursday would funnel $200 million toward the project to build a new FBI headquarters, a plan some House Republicans criticized and previously said should not get more funding.

The General Services Administration last year picked Maryland as the home of the new FBI headquarters over Virginia, after a lengthy and high-profile competition over where the new facility would be built.

Conservatives raised questions about that selection process and in general have expressed hostility toward the FBI this session, citing in part how the agency has handled politically sensitive investigations.

The more than $1.2 trillion, six-bill appropriations package released Thursday has the FBI headquarters funding in the fiscal 2024 Financial Services and General Government portion.

“So much for those ‘cuts’ to FBI,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, posted about the funding on social media. Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., pointed out the funding in the package and posted, “Vote NO.”

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., said in a statement Thursday that including the funding in the package is Congress’ way of saying the project should be moving forward. In fiscal 2023, Congress appropriated $375 million for the headquarters project in the same funding bill.

“We are ready to welcome the FBI to its new, consolidated headquarters in Maryland,” Cardin said. “The latest funding adds to the more than $1.5 billion already available for this important and urgent project.”

Cardin said the new FBI headquarters will be built in Greenbelt, Md., because the GSA picked that location “as the most advantageous.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who leads his chamber’s Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement Thursday that getting the new FBI headquarters for Prince George’s County has been one of his “top priorities” since coming to the Senate.

“This funding that I worked to secure within our FSGG appropriations bill is another critical step in moving forward with the new headquarters in Greenbelt,” Van Hollen said.

Virginia lawmakers have raised deep concerns over the process used to select the Maryland site, and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., sent letters last year seeking information on the selection process.

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, a Virginia Democrat and critic of the selection process, said in a statement Thursday that the fiscal 2024 funding is not tied to any particular site, which moves lawmakers closer to the “shared goal” of constructing a new facility to replace the “crumbling” J. Edgar Hoover building on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington.

“Serious objections remain, including from the FBI, regarding a fouled site selection process for the new headquarters,” Connolly said. “The GSA Inspector General’s investigation into that process is ongoing, and it must be allowed to continue unimpeded until a final report is issued.”

In November, a GSA spokesperson said the agency found Greenbelt to be the best site because it had the greatest transportation access to FBI workers and visitors and it was the lowest cost to taxpayers, along with giving “the government the most certainty on project delivery schedule.”

Rep. Glenn F. Ivey, D-Md., said the project is heading in the right direction. “The main thing is the funding is coming. The site’s been selected, it’s in Greenbelt, which was the right site based on the merits,” Ivey said.

The new headquarters has been a continuous point of criticism from some Republicans. Jordan said in a post on social media in November that the FBI wants a new headquarters but Republicans “shouldn’t vote to give them a dime for it.”

“In fact, they should move the FBI out of the Swamp entirely,” Jordan said. “Huntsville, Alabama, would work.”

Last November, the House voted on an amendment from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that would stop funds in a fiscal 2024 Financial Services spending bill from being used to acquire property for a new fully consolidated FBI headquarters.

A total of 145 House Republicans voted for the amendment, but it was defeated with Democrats and 70 Republicans voting against it.

“It is not my grave concern that the FBI’s building is crumbling. It is my grave concern that the civil liberties of Americans are crumbling,” Gaetz said on the floor. “And I wish we were more worried about that and less worried about whether or not we got new carpet and wallpaper at the FBI building.”

Rep. Steve Womack, who leads the House subcommittee panel that oversees the construction funding, argued at the time that the current FBI headquarters is going to need to be addressed because the facility is crumbling.

“We’re not always going to hate the FBI,” the Arkansas Republican said on the floor. “I realize there are people on my side of the aisle that don’t like some of the activities of the FBI. I’m not going to pick an argument on that.”

“But what I will argue is that it is bad policy for the Congress to be taking steps to deny a federal agency that is in serious need, in my opinion, of an improvement to their headquarters,” Womack said.

This report was corrected to accurately reflect the spelling of Rep. Glenn F. Ivey.

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