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Trump Budget Continues Homeland Security Move to St. Elizabeths

Despite some lawmaker criticism of cost overruns, HQ consolidation on track.

President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget document released on Tuesday calls for continued funding of the ongoing consolidation of the Homeland Security Department’s headquarters on the campus of St. Elizabeths hospital in Southeast Washington.

Though some Republicans in recent years blasted the project for cost overruns—prompting the General Services Administration to scale back the design—the DHS budget calls for $36.4 million and the GSA’s budget calls for $135 million. This will provide continuing funding, a DHS spokeswoman told Government Executive.

The DHS funding is for “additional security, operations, and maintenance requirements for completed segments.” Though the DHS budget document acknowledged that construction has been delayed, it stated that the department’s Procurement, Construction and Improvements account includes “funding for the St. Elizabeths headquarters consolidation project necessary for the planning, operational development, and engineering prior to sustainment.”

The GSA funding would “continue the construction of infrastructure at the campus, which will reduce duplication in leased space and enhance mission effectiveness,” said acting GSA administrator Tim Horne, in a statement. “The president’s budget includes investments to bolster the efficiency, effectiveness and security of the federal government. The proposed funding will allow GSA to enhance our nation’s infrastructure and security in both real space and cyberspace.”

The consolidation of DHS components—led by the move of the Coast Guard HQ in 2013-- is still the largest project in GSA history, according to the agency.

One of the project’s critics, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., was defeated at the polls last November. Another, Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., lost in 2014, and a third critic, Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.,declined comment.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect that Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., is still a member of the Homeland Security Committee