Buried within the language of a newly announced $1 trillion omnibus budget bill in Congress is a half-billion-dollar stipulation for a new FBI headquarters that could greatly benefit the State of Maryland.
With the agency’s present D.C. headquarters in an ever-growing state of disrepair, the federal government has been exploring for years where it will build the agency’s new digs. The move would cost an estimated $1.4 billion, including construction costs.
With options narrowed down to two sites in Prince George’s County – Greenbelt and Landover, specifically – and one in Springfield, Va., the question has left officials competing across the Potomac River for those lucrative construction contracts and the 11,000-or-so jobs that the agency would bring.
In October, the FBI and the General Services Administration were expected to announce their pick, but said they would delay until this year. That happened again in March, and the announcement still hasn’t arrived.
However, in a new compromise bill to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2017, Congress has decided the agency is ready to relocate soon, with $323 million earmarked for the FBI and another $200 million for the General Services Administration for the move. That money would cover only some of the construction and other costs, though the remainder would be taken care of in fiscal 2018.
In a joint statement today, Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen obviously said Maryland is the ideal choice.
“We believe that the Prince George’s County, Maryland sites would best meet the needs of the FBI and its employees, and we urge the General Services Administration and Office of Management and Budget to move forward with the process of providing FBI with an updated, fully consolidated modern facility that will support its work for the American people,” they said.
They also seemed antsy, noting that with at least some of the money set aside for the move and more committed for next fiscal year, “the General Services Administration should proceed with final site selection without delay.”
Reps. Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown issued their own joint statement pushing the Prince George’s County sites as well, while also expressing their disappointment about the lack of full funding for the move this year. “While providing an additional $523 million is a significant step forward to continuing the project, we are disappointed that the project was not fully funded,” they said.
Now-retired Sen. Barbara Mikulski strongly advocated for the GSA to pick Maryland.
“This is a headquarters that belongs in Prince George’s County, keeping our country and the American people safe while creating new jobs in Maryland,” she said in a statement last October.