EPW Hearing Statement: FBI Headquarters Consolidation Project – What Happened and What’s Next

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held the hearing, “FBI Headquarters Consolidation Project – What Happened and What’s Next.” Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this hearing today. I know that you have been working closely with Senator Cardin on this issue, and I applaud you both for that. It is safe to say that we have more questions than answers surrounding this recent decision by the General Services Administration to cancel the procurement for a consolidated FBI Headquarters. I am hopeful we can learn some of those answers here today.

“Before we begin, I would also like to thank our colleague from Maryland, Senator Cardin, for his tireless work on this issue. Senator Cardin has been intensely following this process from the very beginning and is rightfully concerned about the effects of this decision. Prince George’s County, Maryland is home to two of the three final locations for the new FBI Headquarters, the other was in Springfield, Virginia. The decision to cancel this consolidation was a shock to those jurisdictions and will have great impacts on the region.

“I, too, have concerns regarding this move by the GSA to cancel the procurement process. My concerns range from the lack of consultation with Congress, to the impacts on national security, to the excess cost that this decision will impose on the federal government. However, I would say that my largest concern is where do we go from here? So much energy has already been invested in this endeavor, only to have the process halted without an alternative plan. We can all agree that there is an obvious need to move the FBI out of the Hoover Building to a new location and to consolidate other FBI locations. Simply put, the Hoover building is an aging building that no longer meets the needs of the FBI. It suffers significantly from deferred maintenance, and the employees bear the brunt of that lack of investment.

“Further, the status quo, with the FBI scattered across several locations in the DC Metropolitan area, is simply unacceptable for the agency to carry out its mission and improve our national security. With increasingly tight budgets, deferred maintenance on the Hoover Building and expensive commercial leases for FBI annexes and satellite offices, it would to make sense to consolidate the FBI under one roof. As stewards of the federal purse, we should be ensuring that we are doing all that we can to save taxpayer dollars and create efficiency in government, including with respect to property management. We should also ensure that, when appropriate, Congress provides adequate funding for construction projects that will help agencies meet their mission.

 “For the last several years, I have been a strong advocate for the Department of Homeland Security’s Headquarters Consolidation at the St. Elizabeths campus. I firmly believe that finishing the DHS headquarters would improve our national security, increase morale and productivity at the Department, and ultimately save money for taxpayers. The DHS consolidation is an example of what we can do when we all work together. However, without adequate funding from Congress in the years ahead, this FBI project and the St. Elizabeths project may face unacceptable cost escalations and delays that are wholly preventable through Congressional action.

“I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses today, and I also look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, as well as with Senator Cardin, the FBI and the GSA so we can get this project back on track and moving in the right direction again.”