Political News

Government scraps plans to build a new FBI headquarters

Posted July 11, 2017 6:26 p.m. EDT

The General Services Administration and the FBI have decided to scrap Obama-era plans to construct a new FBI headquarters building because of funding gaps, according to a GSA statement Tuesday.

Although GSA initially asked Congress for $1.4 billion to fund the project in the 2017 fiscal year, only $523 million was appropriated, leaving "an $882 million funding gap," the statement said.

The funding gap rendered it far riskier to pursue the project, the statement said, because it could make the government vulnerable to cost escalations. Moreover, it would potentially reduce the value of the FBI's current property, the J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, which GSA planned to trade in to a developer for additional funding.

But there's still hope for the relocation project.

"The cancellation of the project does not lessen the need for a new FBI headquarters. GSA and FBI will continue to work together to address the space requirements of the FBI," the statement said.

Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown, hosted a press conference Tuesday to explain their opposition to the decision, which they said endangers national security.

"This is a decision that will have a major impact on the security of our country," Cardin said. "The core missions of the FBI are being compromised by the decision made by the Trump administration today. It puts our homeland security at greater risk, and our national security at greater risk."

Other Democrats released disapproving statements on Twitter.

Lawmakers aren't the only ones upset about the choice. Representatives of Prince George's and Fairfax counties -- potential cites for the new headquarters -- expressed disappointment Tuesday.

"Not only did folks waste 10 years planning for this much-needed move, but this decision is an affront to the hard-working men and women of the FBI who deserve a state of the art facility -- now more than ever," Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay said in a Facebook statement Tuesday.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III also expressed similar frustrations to local media.