McConnell wants FBI money out of coronavirus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled McConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt 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 TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response 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 MnuchinMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Hillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers On the Money: Pelosi draws line at .2T | Jobless claims dip | Swing-state jobless numbers an issue for Trump MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won't attend UN General Assembly in person, Meadows says McConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Overnight Health Care: Ex-Pence aide backs Biden over virus response | Trump's sharp words put CDC director on hot seat | Trump coronavirus adviser threatens to sue Stanford researchers 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 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 PelosiMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Pelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership 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 GrahamThe Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Senate Democrats' campaign arm announces seven-figure investment to boost Graham challenger Graham: Comey to testify about FBI's Russia probe, Mueller declined invitation 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.