FBI headquarters decision pushed back to March

The FBI is going to have to wait a little bit longer before it starts packing up and moving to a new headquarters.

The General Services Administration said Monday it would be delaying the announcement of which of the three properties under consideration would be the future home of the FBI.

The Washington Business Journal first reported this story.

“Due to a strong and overwhelmingly positive response from developers to the solicitation issued earlier this year, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) now plan to announce the selected site and offeror for the competition in early March 2017,” said Renee Kelly, GSA spokeswoman in a statement. The decision was originally expected to come this December.

In 2014, the FBI and GSA had narrowed its choices to three locations: the Greenbelt Metro and Landover in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the GSA Franconia Warehouse Complex in Springfield, Virginia.

“GSA and FBI are encouraged by the proposals received and are confident that, if Congress provides the resources requested in the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, we will be able to deliver on our commitment to provide a world-class facility for the FBI and a good deal for the taxpayer,” Kelly said.

As planned, GSA and the FBI would pay for the headquarters project from two different sources: appropriations and the exchange of its current headquarters, the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in downtown Washington. President Barack Obama requested $1.4 billion in his 2017 budget proposal for the project, which the FBI and GSA would split. The agencies secured an additional $390 million for the project under the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill.

Congress was under the impression that GSA planned to use the proceeds from selling the current FBI building to fund the bulk of the consolidation project, and that it ultimately had little authority to get involved since it asked for a small amount in appropriated funding.

GSA received most of the $390 million Congress appropriated in 2016, which it will use for planning and designing the new building, said Norman Dong, GSA’s Public Building Service Commissioner, in March.

“I’m deeply disappointed in more delay. The men and women of the FBI need a 21st-century headquarters today to take on 21st-century threats tomorrow,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), in a statement. “As this process moves forward, as Vice Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittee. “I will continue to work my earrings off to put the funds in the federal checkbook for a new, fully consolidated headquarters. 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.”

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also expressed his dismay at the latest delay.

“I am deeply disappointed that GSA is delaying a decision once again,” he said in a statement. “The hardworking employees of the FBI deserve a new, consolidated headquarters as soon as possible. Additional delays undermine the FBI’s mission and our national security, as well as employee morale and safety.  I will continue to monitor this process to ensure it is fair and stays on schedule, and I strongly oppose any additional delays.”

Mikulski, who has led the effort on Capitol Hill to lure the project to her state, announced in March that she would be retiring at the end of her term in December.

“The Springfield site proposal continues to be the most logical and most appropriate location for the new FBI headquarters,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) “It provides a critical nexus for the FBI with the agency’s other facilities in Quantico and Winchester, and with their security partners at the CIA and the Pentagon. It is readily accessible to Metro and our regional transportation network. No other site can better meet the FBI’s needs, so it is confounding that GSA has once again delayed this important decision.”

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