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McConnell wants FBI money out of coronavirus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (R-Ky.) says he wants the $1.75 billion in funding for a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington removed from the GOP's coronavirus relief package.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, McConnell said he hopes that provision and other “non-germane” items will be removed from the legislation before it’s sent to President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE’s desk.

“I am opposed to non-germane amendments, whether it’s funding for the FBI building or, for example, in the House bill, whether it’s a tax cut for high-income earners in blue states or other non-germane amendments in the House bill like marijuana studies or aid to illegal immigrants,” McConnell told reporters after GOP senators met for lunch with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here MORE, who are involved in negotiations with congressional Democrats on the COVID-19 package.

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“When we get to the end of the process, I would hope all of the non-COVID-related measures are out, no matter what bill they were in at the start,” McConnell added.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyBiden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat Republicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Top Senate Democrat announces return of earmarks MORE (R-Ala.) told reporters that Mnuchin and Meadows, the lead White House negotiators, pressed GOP senators to include the FBI funding in the bill.

“It was a request from the administration,” Shelby said Tuesday.

Democratic leaders suspect Trump wants to refurbish the existing FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue for personal financial gain.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Lawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats House Republican: 'Absolutely bogus' for GOP to downplay Jan. 6 MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters the president wants to rebuild the FBI headquarters “so that nobody could build a hotel across the street” from the Trump International Hotel.

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Several Senate Republicans on Tuesday questioned the decision to include funding for a new FBI headquarters in a bill focused on providing coronavirus relief.

“A couple people mentioned it. I don’t know why it’s in there,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood causes headache for GOP in key S.C. race GOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP MORE (R-S.C.) said after attending the GOP conference lunch with Mnuchin and Meadows.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said he only learned of the special funding for the FBI headquarters after reading about it in news reports.

Asked after the GOP lunch whether the earmark for the FBI headquarters would stay in the legislation, Mnuchin said, “We’re looking at everything in the bill.”

Updated at 3:49 p.m.