- The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Tucked inside President Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget request is a plan to move the FBI out of its current location across from the Justice Department in downtown Washington and build a new campus in suburban Virginia or Maryland.

The plan, unveiled Monday, marks the end of a Trump administration decision to keep the FBI in its current headquarters.

Democrats and others had criticized former President Donald Trump’s plan to keep the FBI in the same location because it sits near the Trump International Hotel.

They accused Mr. Trump of trying to block rival hotels from moving in on the spot, which is prime real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue one block from the Trump hotel.

In Monday’s budget request, the Biden administration said keeping the bureau at its current location “can no longer support the long-term mission of the FBI.”

“The FBI has begun a multi-year process of constructing a modern, secure suburban facility from which the FBI can continue its mission to protect the American people,” the budget request states.

Over the next year, the General Services Administration and the FBI will work to identify a location to construct a federally owned, secure facility in the Washington suburbs to support at least 7,500 personnel, according to the budget request.

Three sites are under review for the new headquarters: Greenbelt and Landover in Maryland, and Springfield, Virginia.

In its proposed budget, the Biden administration said the GSA and the FBI will finalize an updated list of requirements for the suburban campus as part of their budget requests for fiscal 2024.

The Obama administration had proposed moving the FBI headquarters to the suburbs, selling the current site to a developer and using the funds to pay for the construction of a modern campus.

Mr. Trump scrapped those plans, touching off a political firestorm. He sought $3.3 billion to demolish the current building and construct a new headquarters in its place.

“The Trump administration came in, scrapped all the plans that had been in place for years, totally reversed course and Congress, on a bipartisan basis, has been very troubled,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, said at the time.

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat and then-chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent letters to the GSA, the FBI and the Justice Department seeking more information about why Mr. Trump scrapped the suburban campus plan.

Ultimately, The Trump administration put the plan on hold in 2019. The Justice Department said it wanted more time to confer with Capitol Hill lawmakers on the proposal.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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