A House panel Thursday approved stripping money from the proposed new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an ominous sign for a project that is already facing challenges under the Trump administration.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has been putting aside money for the headquarters for years, but legislation approved by a House Appropriations subcommittee would rescind $200 million of that funding. Maryland officials have been competing with Virginia and hope to land the new project, and the 11,000 jobs associated with it, in Prince George's County.
"It is reprehensible that House Republicans are playing politics with our national security by rescinding $200 million in funding for the new, fully consolidated FBI headquarters," Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland and Anthony G. Brown of Prince George's County said in a joint statement. "House Republicans must stop delaying this project."
Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen — both Democrats — also issued a statement criticizing the cut. Van Hollen serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and may have an opportunity to restore the funding.
The Republican chairman of the House subcommittee, Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia, said the overall cut to the government's building fund reflects a "focus on taking care of what we have today and anticipating, hopefully, additional resources in the future [so] we can look back toward construction."
President Donald J. Trump, a former real estate developer, has never spoken publicly on the project.
The cut could be restored later in the annual appropriation process. The General Services Administration, which is overseeing the headquarters project, announced in March that it was putting the process of selecting a site on hold until Congress found additional funding.