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Biden Signs Budget With $200M For New FBI HQ, Prompting GOP Backlash

The plan to build a new headquarters for the FBI in the Maryland suburbs received more funding over the weekend. 

The General Services Administration received $200M for the project as part of the $1.2T government spending bill for fiscal year 2024. President Joe Biden signed the final piece of the FY 2024 omnibus legislation into law Saturday, funding the government through September. 

The FBI's J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue

The $200M allocated for the FBI headquarters was part of $9.5B allocated to the GSA for leases, construction, acquisition, maintenance and conversion. It comes five months after the GSA selected Greenbelt, Maryland, for the FBI's new headquarters. 

Biden's 2024 budget proposal had laid out a plan to allocate $3.5B for the new headquarters project, with payments of $233M over 15 years.

A Republican House Appropriations Committee release sent out in conjunction with the legislation passed last week touts rejecting the $3.5B in FBI funding as defeating one of the "Democrat Poison Pills."

But some Republicans were still unhappy with the $200M allotment.

After the House passed the bill Friday, The New York Times reported that conservative members were "infuriated" to see the headquarters funding in the budget deal. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas posted a screenshot of the headquarters appropriation on X, formerly Twitter, writing, "So much for those ‘cuts’ to FBI." Rep. Eric Burlison of Missouri also voiced his opposition to the FBI funding on X. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who represents Maryland and supported the Senate version of the bill that included the FBI funding, praised the move in a post on X. 

"I'm determined to ensure this project is fully funded so the FBI can have the new home it deserves," he wrote.

For the next fiscal year, Biden has requested $3.5B in full, upfront funding for the new FBI headquarters, the Washington Business Journal reported earlier this month. The funding would come from the Federal Capital Revolving Fund, a new mechanism to support the government’s largest civilian property projects, and would be paid in installments over 15 years. 

The $3.5B price tag would be in addition to $645M the GSA has already secured for land acquisition and construction of the headquarters, according to the agency's budget request. 

The effort to build a new headquarters for the agency has been in the works for over a decade. In the fall, the GSA announced it selected Greenbelt out of three finalist sites. The plan is to build the headquarters on 61 acres owned by WMATA next to the Greenbelt Metro station.  

The site of the Landover Mall, also in Maryland's Prince George’s County, was another finalist, as was a site in Springfield, Virginia. 

Scrutiny quickly arose around the selection, with members of Congress and Virginia lawmakers claiming that the criteria were unfairly used to support the selection

That same month, GSA inspector general announced an investigation into the selection. The House committee that oversees the federal footprint and the GSA held a hearing one month later probing officials on the selection process. 

The president’s signature Saturday on the 2024 fiscal budget marked a milestone after months of Congress passing stopgap measures, funding the government for short periods and avoiding a shutdown without agreeing to a full year of expenditures.