A number of House Republicans voted with Democrats on Thursday to keep funding for a new FBI headquarters.
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced an amendment to the House appropriations bill on Wednesday to prohibit funding for a new FBI headquarters; 70 Republicans and 203 Democrats rejected his amendment in a 273-145 vote, according to the House Clerk. The new headquarters will cost approximately $300 million to build and will be located in the Democratically-run state of Maryland, The Washington Post reported.
“70 Republicans voted to reward the Weaponized FBI with a new $300M headquarters – larger than the Pentagon. Sad!” Gaetz said on X Wednesday.
Those in favor of a new headquarters location argue that the current location in Washington, D.C., is decades old and in poor condition, according to the Post. Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer argued on the House floor Thursday that the current building “is falling down” and netting surrounds the building to prevent falling concrete from hitting the sidewalk below.
Gaetz said that he felt the FBI had been politically weaponized and therefore deserved to operate out of a “rat-infested” building.
“Guess what? Our country is crumbling when a weaponized security state targets the civil liberties of American citizens because of their politics,” Gaetz said on X Thursday. “Those in the J. Edgar Hoover Building should sit in that rat-infested building until they get their act straight.”
The General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees real estate for the federal government, announced on Wednesday that the new FBI headquarters would be moved to Maryland, according to the Post. Maryland lobbyists and lawmakers lobbyed the GSA to choose their state for the location over Virginia, despite Virginia being in closer proximity to other national security installations.
FBI Christopher Wray expressed concern on Thursday that GSA had a “conflict of interest” in selecting the new location, according to a letter obtained by Punchbowl News reporter Max Cohen.
“We have concerns about fairness and transparency in the process,” Wray said in the letter. “Our concerns about the process remain unresolved.”
The FBI and GSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jake Smith on November 9, 2023