The amendment to the House appropriations bill, proposed by Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, sought to prohibit this funding. However, it was rejected by a 273-145 vote, with 70 Republicans and 203 Democrats voting against it, as per the House Clerk's records.
The proposed new headquarters, estimated to cost around $300 million, is slated to be constructed in Maryland, a state currently under Democratic governance, as reported by The Washington Post.
Gaetz expressed his disappointment on Wednesday, stating, “70 Republicans voted to reward the Weaponized FBI with a new $300M headquarters – larger than the Pentagon. Sad!”
Proponents of the new headquarters argue that the existing building in Washington, D.C., is in a state of disrepair, having been in use for several decades. Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, during Thursday's House floor debate, pointed out that the current building “is falling down” and is surrounded by netting to prevent falling concrete from hitting the sidewalk below.
Gaetz, however, believes that the FBI, which he perceives as being politically weaponized, should continue to operate from its current “rat-infested” building. He stated on Thursday, “Guess what? Our country is crumbling when a weaponized security state targets the civil liberties of American citizens because of their politics. Those in the J. Edgar Hoover Building should sit in that rat-infested building until they get their act straight.”
The General Services Administration (GSA), responsible for federal government real estate, announced on Wednesday that the new FBI headquarters would be relocated to Maryland, The Washington Post reported. Despite Virginia's closer proximity to other national security installations, Maryland lobbyists and lawmakers successfully persuaded the GSA to choose their state.
FBI Christopher Wray voiced his concerns on Thursday about a potential “conflict of interest” in the GSA's selection of the new location, according to a letter obtained by Punchbowl News reporter Max Cohen. Wray wrote, “We have concerns about fairness and transparency in the process. Our concerns about the process remain unresolved.”