GOP coronavirus bill includes $1.75 billion for construction of new FBI building

GOP coronavirus bill includes $1.75 billion for construction of new FBI building
© Getty Images

A coronavirus relief package unveiled on Monday evening by Senate Republicans includes nearly $2 billion in funding for the Department of Justice to construct a new FBI building. 

The funding, tucked into a 177-page appropriations section of the package, would provide  $1.75 billion for "the design and construction of a Washington, DC headquarters facility for the Federal Bureau of Investigation," according to the text of the legislation. 

The decision to include funding for a new FBI building in Washington, D.C., comes as the Trump administration has pushed to keep the new headquarters in Washington, D.C.. Before the Trump administration the new headquarters was expected to be built in a D.C. suburb. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Republicans distanced themselves from the inclusion of the money in their coronavirus relief package. 

Asked about it at first, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks MORE (R-Ky.) questioned if the funding was in the bill. A staff member then indicated that it was. 

Asked a second time about the funding, the GOP Senate leader told reporters to ask the administration "why they instituted that be included." 

"Well regarding that proposal obviously we had to have an agreement with the administration in order to get started. And they'll have to answer the question of why they insisted on that provision," he said.

Asked about the FBI funding, Shelby noted that it was the administration's request. 

"Well, that's a good question," Shelby added, asked how the FBI building funding was related to the coronavirus. "There are probably a lot of things ... that you might have to stretch and wink some of them." 

ADVERTISEMENT

The Department of Justice inspector general said last year that it would probe the decision to keep the FBI headquartered in Washington, D.C. 

"The OIG is initiating a review that will assess the DOJ's and FBI's planning for a future FBI Headquarters facility," Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a letter to House committee chairmen. 

Democrats have argued that the decision was sparked by Trump being worried that the current FBI building could be turned into a hotel and provide competition to the Trump Hotel in downtown D.C.

“More than 150,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, millions are unemployed, state and local governments are struggling to stay afloat, and Mitch McConnell and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE are more concerned about protecting Trump Hotel. That is shameful," Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyCongress must enact a plan to keep government workers safe Trump's postmaster general is playing with political fire USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (D-Va.) said in a statement on Monday.