FBI headquarters funding draws sharp backlash from conservatives

Hard-line conservatives are fuming over a bipartisan government funding deal that includes dollars for construction of a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The proposal was inside the sweeping $1.2 trillion government funding package congressional leaders rolled out on early Thursday, as Congress works to avert a shutdown this weekend.

The bill would put $200 million toward construction of a new FBI headquarters, angering conservatives who have targeted the funding over the past year while accusing the agency of being weaponized against the right.

“The $1.2 trillion, 1000-page swamp-bus released in the dead of night includes $200 MILLION for a new FBI Headquarters So much for those ‘cuts’ to FBI,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Conservatives have turned to a number of claims — all contested by the bureau — in targeting its funding. The issues range from abortion rights to pandemic-era efforts that the conservative lawmakers say targeted anti-abortion people or parents.

“The FBI labels parents as domestic terrorists, targets pro-lifers, and wages a war against conservative Americans,” Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.) wrote on X. “Their punishment? $200 MILLION for a new headquarters in this ‘minibus’ Vote NO #KillTheBill.”

Conservatives argue parents were targeted by the FBI when it offered a coordinated response with local school board members who had received violent threats over COVID policies at schools.

Claims the FBI was biased against people who oppose abortion rights is related to threats in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Republicans previously had praised a $654 million cut to the FBI’s operating budget in the initial batch of full-year funding bills that passed Congress earlier this month.

Now the FBI is getting $200 million to pay for the new headquarters as part of the full-year funding for the General Services Administration (GSA), which constructs and manages federal buildings. That bill is part of the minibus package agreed to this week. It’s expected to get a vote as soon as Friday.

The relocation of the FBI’s headquarters has been controversial from the start.

Former President Trump tried to block its relocation to the suburbs, instead preferring the existing downtown location blocks away from his then-hotel.

But GOP interest in the headquarters shifted after Trump left office — and the bureau played a key role in searching his Florida home for classified documents.

At one point conservatives floated moving its headquarters to Alabama, and over the summer some GOP members suggested rescinding funding from the agency over the matter.

Moving the FBI has also led to a feud among Democrats representing districts in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Both states had hoped to attract the FBI project.

Virginia lawmakers have requested an investigation into the rationale for choosing a Maryland site for the headquarters, suggesting it may have been improperly chosen.

In a statement Thursday, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), head of the subcommittee that crafts funding for the GSA, said the larger bill not only will provide “key resources to tackle the opioid epidemic,” but also “the necessary funding to build the new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt, Maryland.”

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