The FBI would remain more than a half a billion dollars short of what it needs to build a new headquarters under the budget agreement Congress is set to consider this week, probably delaying a decision on the project’s location until next year.
Then-President Barack Obama had sought $1.4 billion toward the construction of a new bureau headquarters in the D.C. suburbs. Instead, a proposed budget deal arranged by congressional leaders provides $523 million toward the project and the possibility, but not the guarantee, of as much as $315 million in other dollars through transfers of existing funds — for a possible total of $838 million.
The new money would add to $390 million previously appropriated for the project. The General Services Administration, which is overseeing the project, plans to pay for a new headquarters in either Greenbelt, Md., Landover, Md., or Springfield, Va., through a combination of appropriated dollars and a trade for the site of the existing J. Edgar Hoover Building downtown to the selected builder.
The project is currently on hold. Citing funding delays, the GSA announced last month that it had postponed a decision on where to build the project and which of a shortlist of qualified developers would be chosen to build it.
Agency officials have not announced a deadline for a decision. Spokeswomen for the GSA and the FBI declined to comment on the latest funding proposals, which must be voted on by lawmakers.
The FBI has been pressing for a new home to replace the aging Hoover Building for more than a decade. Trump is familiar with the FBI project in part because his D.C. hotel is operating out of government-owned property nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Among the final bidders approved by the GSA is a partnership led by Vornado Realty Trust, a New York office developer that owns property in partnership with both Trump and the firm of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser.
Vornado’s chief executive and chairman, Steven Roth, served as a Trump campaign adviser and is leading an infrastructure commission created by the administration.
Of the $523 million in new money, $323 million is for the FBI and $200 million is for the GSA.
“It is the intent of Congress to provide funding in fiscal year 2018 necessary for the project to proceed expeditiously,” the budget proposal reads.
Elected leaders from Maryland, home to two of the possible headquarters sites, expressed disappointment that the project was not fully funded, and they urged the administration to move forward with making a decision on where and how to build the new campus.
“Prince George’s County remains the best choice for the FBI, and we are committed to ensuring the project receives the funding needed to get it done,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) said in a statement. “We urge the General Services Administration to make a site decision and begin building the new, consolidated headquarters.”
Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Benjamin L. Cardin, both Maryland Democrats, issued a statement saying they had sought full funding but calling the agreement a “significant step.”
They urged the administration “to move forward with the process of providing FBI with an updated, fully consolidated modern facility that will support its work for the American people.”
Correction: This story originally said incorrectly that President Trump had proposed $1.4 billion in funding for a new FBI headquarters. It was then-President Obama who made that request.
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