McConnell wants FBI money out of coronavirus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight 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 John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid 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 Terner MnuchinShutdown clash looms after Democrats unveil spending bill Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSouthwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid Airline CEOs plead with Washington as layoffs loom Trump reacts to Ginsburg's death: 'An amazing woman who led an amazing life' MORE, who are involved in negotiations with congressional Democrats on the COVID-19 package.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 ShelbySenate GOP eyes early exit Dems discussing government funding bill into February GOP short of votes on Trump's controversial Fed pick 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 PelosiTrump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally CDC causes new storm by pulling coronavirus guidance Overnight Health Care: CDC pulls revised guidance on coronavirus | Government watchdog finds supply shortages are harming US response | As virus pummels US, Europe sees its own spike 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 GrahamGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Fox's Napolitano: Supreme Court confirmation hearings will be 'World War III of political battles' Grassley, Ernst pledge to 'evaluate' Trump's Supreme Court nominee 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.