Virginia Steps Up Bid to Be New FBI Headquarters Location
SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Virginia’s elected officials stepped up their campaign to have the state become home to the new FBI headquarters on Wednesday.
At an early morning press conference, a bipartisan group that included Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, among others, argued that the same qualities that have lured large corporations to the state in recent years would benefit the agency as well.
The Springfield site currently under consideration is located near Northern Virginia Community College, not far from communities where Amazon, Boeing and Raytheon have all chosen to locate headquarters facilities in recent years.
Two sites in Maryland are also under consideration. At stake is the economic impact of the roughly 7,500 jobs that would be tied to the new facility.
“Virginia is the best place to live, work and raise a family for law enforcement,” Youngkin said. “We have a robust infrastructure. We have business-ready sites. We have a world-class education system … and we have a vibrant and diverse workforce.”
He also noted that by choosing Springfield, the General Services Administration, which would oversee the agency relocation, would be selecting a site in “close proximity to public and private sector partners, and … major federal agencies from the Pentagon to the FBI academy in Quantico.”
“The Springfield site is ideal for the next FBI headquarters because it saves the most money for U.S. taxpayers. Virginia stands ready to ensure that the FBI is well-positioned to continue to serve all Americans,” Youngkin added.
Maryland officials have argued for months that the five-tier site selection criteria set out by the General Services Administration gives too much of an edge to Virginia.
They also argue that the government’s desire to promote racial equity virtually requires the General Services Administration to choose either Greenbelt or Landover, Maryland, which have majority-minority populations.
Both states will be making their final pitches to the General Services Administration in the coming weeks.
Plans to replace the FBI’s existing headquarters, built in 1974 and now considered to be in considerable disrepair, have been under discussion for more than a decade.
The plan to replace the building appeared to be advancing, when then-President Donald Trump scuttled the relocation in favor of revitalizing and rebuilding the current site.
Speculation at the time was that Trump opposed the relocation because he didn’t want the agency’s current site — directly across the street from what was then the Trump Hotel in the Old Post Office Building — to be redeveloped by a competitor.
On Wednesday, Warner, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said with the Springfield site, “the Biden administration has an exciting opportunity to make good on its promise to invest in diverse and underserved communities and … deliver a world-class HQ that best helps the men and women of the FBI meet their mission day-in and day-out.”
Kaine, meanwhile, plugged Virginia’s “fantastic transportation network, schools, business climate, national security network, diverse communities, commitment to affordable housing and site readiness.”
In short, he said, “there’s no better place for the FBI headquarters than Springfield, Virginia.”
As for Spanberger, whose district encompasses the FBI Academy, and who herself is a former federal agent and CIA case officer, she spoke of the region’s “strong respect” for the FBI’s employees and mission.
“I’m deeply proud to represent these extraordinary law enforcement professionals and their families, and I know that the FBI’s mission will be strengthened by its long-term presence here in Northern Virginia,” she said.
The bottom line, said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., is that “the merits and ability to meet the FBI’s mission must drive the GSA’s decision for the new FBI headquarters.”
“The Springfield site is the clear leader in nexus to FBI partner facilities, access to transit, equity and cost effectiveness. Those criteria, not political gamesmanship, should drive this process,” Connolly said.
Speaking up for Maryland on Wednesday was Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the former House majority leader, who spoke out in a pair of tweets shortly after the Virginia press conference concluded.
“For years, I’ve worked to bring a new, consolidated FBI HQ to Prince George’s County,” he said in the first. “This decision not only honors the Biden admin’s equity goals, but along with [Maryland’s] assets and low cost, would be the best choice for the FBI to carry out its mission.”
His second tweet came with a letter to Biden attached from the National Urban League and civil rights organizations.
“Civil rights leaders agree that we ought to get the [FBI to come to Maryland],” Hoyer wrote.
“Selecting Greenbelt or Landover as the new home to the FBI would be a major commitment to reducing disparities in communities of color,” he said.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue
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