Republicans are ready to talk about pulling back funding from the new FBI headquarters that Virginia and Maryland are sparring with one another to land as more stories surface about the bureau’s behavior.
“I think that the FBI building’s funding this year is in definite jeopardy,” Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland Republican and member of the Appropriations Committee, told The Washington Times.
“I think we should not fund the new FBI headquarters until we get to the bottom of what’s going on,” he said.
The Times reached out to the FBI, and the agency had no comment.
The panel’s subcommittee has yet to mark up the fiscal 2024 budget requesting a $233 million discretionary appropriation for the Federal Buildings Fund from the Federal Capital Revolving Fund to provide for the first of 15 years of repayment for the project. Ultimately, this amounts to a $3.5 billion allocation for the FBI’s new suburban headquarters campus.
However, according to Mr. Harris, Republicans on the committee are more than likely to take issue with recent stories surrounding the FBI. The GOP majority says the bureau has been “weaponized” against American civilians and its own rank and file who became whistleblowers against the bureau.
“Oh, I’m certain it’s going to come up in the markup of that bill,” Mr. Harris said.
House Republican appropriators potentially withholding funds from the proposed FBI headquarters could happen right in the middle of a nasty battle between Virginia and Maryland lawmakers and their respective state officials vying to be the federal law enforcement agency’s new location.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and former longtime top No. 2 Democrat is one of his state’s leading voices fighting to bring the bureau there. In a statement to The Times, Mr. Hoyer called the Republicans’ likely move “blatant hypocrisy.”
“For more than a decade, we’ve had bipartisan agreement that the current FBI Headquarters fails to meet the needs of the FBI’s mission and their security requirements. Republicans’ latest effort to hold this independent law enforcement agency hostage during the Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations process puts our national security at risk,” Mr. Hoyer said.
“This blatant hypocrisy is yet another example of congressional Republicans’ choice to prioritize their own political agenda over the security of all American people. Our federal law enforcement agents deserve the resources they need to do their jobs and keep our communities safe — regardless of who controls Congress,” he said.
However, Republicans are prepared to punish the agency over its investigations and surveillance of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and his administration, probing Catholic Churches and parents protesting school boards, executing warrantless searches on American citizens and dispatching raids on pro-life activists.
Rep. Scott Perry, Pennsylvania Republican, said “every single bit” of funding, which includes funding for the FBI’s new headquarters, should be scrutinized.
“All the agencies that have been weaponized against the American government need to be looked at with a very scrutinizing eye regarding any funding they received from taxpayers,” he said.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican, anticipated the use of the Holman rule — which allows for amendments to appropriations legislation that reduces the salary, terminates specific federal employees, or cuts a specific program — to be used against the FBI.
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