McConnell wants FBI money out of coronavirus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate 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 TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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 MnuchinOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' US Chamber asks Treasury to clear up 'serious concerns' about payroll tax deferral Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsPelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate Overnight Health Care: Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate | Top Fed official says quick reopenings damaged recovery from coronavirus | Nearly three dozen health experts object to HHS coronavirus database Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate 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 ShelbyDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS 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 PelosiOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Bass on filling Harris's Senate spot: 'I'll keep all my options open' Win by QAnon believer creates new headaches for House GOP 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 GrahamRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes Democrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick 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.