Congress’ refusal to assist with costs won’t derail the already-underway project. Funds were also blocked in last year’s omnibus spending measure.
At that time, U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun quickly responded to news reports about the funding ban.
“The new building project is being funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other U.S. Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds. This has always been the plan. The proposed Omnibus Spending Bill does not provide any new, additional, restrictions to that plan,” he wrote in the embassy’s “Special Relationship Magazine.”
Overall U.S. embassy security is a big winner in the spending bill. According to colleague Ed O’Keefe’s breakdown of key components of the massive bill, there is “$5.4 billion for security at U.S. embassies worldwide, $46 million more than Obama requested.”
And while the London embassy will be an attractive sight, it’s also has a number of security enhancements. After the announcement of the winning architect to design the new building in 2010, the Washington Post described it this way:
A semicircular pond will function as a protective moat along the Thames side, while a spiraling landscape to the south sets the building away from potential car or truck bombs. A complex envelope of blast-resistant glass and a polymer skin (known as ETFE) will provide both security and energy efficiency while shading the building on its sun-exposed sides.