The massive fiscal 2017 spending bill President Trump signed on Friday contains most but not all requested funding for the new FBI headquarters planned for a site either in Maryland or Virginia.
The Justice Department section of the massive appropriations bill contains $323 million for the project, while the General Services Administration section has an additional $200 million. This amount doesn’t meet the full request for the project, but lawmakers committed to the remainder in the fiscal 2018 budget being assembled now with an Oct. 1 deadline.
The funding “is a significant step toward full consolidation of the FBI headquarters, which is a national security imperative,” said Maryland Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen in a joint statement. “While we had looked for full funding immediately, now that Congress has provided even greater resources toward the cost of this project and a commitment to FY18, the General Services Administration should proceed with final site selection without delay.”
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Virginia Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine also highlighted the funding in their statements on the omnibus bill.
GSA has reportedly narrowed the selection down to four contractors and potential sites near public transportation in Springfield, Va.; Greenbelt, Md.; and Landover, Md. GSA is hoping to partially fund the construction by trading the current downtown Washington site of the 47-year-old J. Edgar Hoover Building to a private developer. GSA had hoped to make the announcement last December, but a spokeswoman in March said officials wanted to await the funding decision.
The Obama administration last year had sought $646 million in fiscal 2017 toward replacing a headquarters that is “obsolete, inefficient, costly to maintain, and would be prohibitively expensive to modernize.” But the House committee recommended $308.9 million or level funding.
Neither the FBI nor GSA responded to calls for comment.