Lawmakers Look to Rekindle Efforts to Build a New FBI Headquarters
A Senate appropriations bill for fiscal 2022 included a provision asking the bureau to move forward on plans in coordination with the General Services Administration.
The years-long effort to construct a new FBI headquarters gained steam with the introduction of appropriations bills in the Senate on Monday.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government panel, announced on Tuesday that one of the Senate appropriations bills for fiscal 2022 introduced on Monday includes a provision for the new headquarters, which has been in the works for over a decade. The current building is over four decades old and is deteriorating.
“For the last four years, President Trump did all he could to block our efforts to construct a new FBI consolidated headquarters that meets the security and capacity needs of the bureau, solely because it stood to hurt his personal financial interests,” Van Hollen said in a press release. “We fought back tooth and nail, and now, it’s past time to get this project back on track.”
The provision would urge the FBI and General Services Administration to move forward on securing a new headquarters in the National Capital Region and require GSA to submit a report to Congress within 180 days of the bill’s enactment. There are three previously vetted potential sites for the new headquarters. The report should summarize the “material provisions of the construction and consolidation of the FBI in a new headquarters facility, including all the costs associated with site acquisition, design, management and inspection, and a description of all buildings and infrastructure needed to complete the project,” said the bill’s text.
Congress has already “provided authorizations and appropriations for a new headquarters,” said a report on the appropriations bill. The enacted fiscal 2021 omnibus appropriations bill required GSA to submit a similar report, which it has yet to do.
"GSA continues to work with its stakeholders to determine the best path forward for providing a fully consolidated FBI headquarters facility," said a GSA spokesperson. The FBI referred Government Executive to GSA when asked for comment.
The House’s version of the appropriations bill contains a similar provision on the new FBI headquarters.
Back in May, Van Hollen along with Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., sent a letter to Biden asking him to provide “clear direction” to GSA and the Justice Department about the construction of the new headquarters. While progress was made between 2011 and 2016, “the Trump administration’s move in 2017 to cancel the project ignored the intent of Congress and scrapped years’ worth of planning, organizing and resources devoted to the project,” they wrote.
Separately, Government Executive reported in August 2020 that the FBI planned to relocate about 1,500 employees and contractors to Alabama by the end of this year with possibly more to follow. When asked for an update, the FBI had no comment.
Update: This article has been updated with comment from GSA.