Fate Of FBI HQ Project Uncertain After House Subcommittee Rescinds $200M Appropriation
A House subcommittee voted Thursday to rescind a $200M appropriation that had been set aside for the project in the 2018 budget, the Washington Business Journal reports.
That money had been included in Congress's bipartisan budget agreement in May, but was still a small part of the $1.4B in federal funding the project needs. The total cost is expected to reach $2.5B. The full appropriations committee could still reinstate the funding and move the project forward, but the decision by the financial services and general government subcommittee shows some in the body are not on board with the project.
When it delayed the selection in March, the GSA said appropriations were necessary before it could make an award. The decision was originally supposed to be made before the end of 2016, when it would have been up to the previous administration.
The agency still does not have a permanent administrator or public buildings commissioner since President Donald Trump has taken office, and one former PBC has speculated the award would be pushed to 2018.
Local leaders, including Prince George's County executive Rushern Baker, have called on the GSA to expedite its decision. Prince George's County has two of the three potential sites, in Greenbelt and Landover, and Baker last week announced a run for Maryland governor. The third potential site is in Springfield, Virginia.
"This is a huge step backward and frankly, the Subcommittee of Congress has reneged on their commitment to fully fund the remainder of a project that is critical for the protection of U.S. citizens from international threats," Baker said in a statement Friday. "If ever a project should have bi-partisan support and be recognized as vital for national security, this should be it."
Rep. Steny Hoyer and Rep. Anthony Brown, both Democrats representing Prince George's County, criticized the committee's decision in a joint statement Thursday.
“It is reprehensible that House Republicans are playing politics with our national security by rescinding $200M in funding for the new, fully consolidated FBI headquarters," the statement reads. "House Republicans must stop delaying this project. A new, fully consolidated FBI headquarters is important for the safety and security of our nation, as well as the economic development of Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland."