Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing titled, “Oversight: FBI Headquarters Consolidation Project.”
The hearing featured testimony from Dan Matthews, commissioner of the Public Building Service at the General Services Administration; and Richard Haley, assistant director and chief financial officer of the Finance Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
For more information on their testimonies click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today’s oversight hearing will focus on the status of the FBI Headquarters Consolidation Project.
“We will hear testimony from the General Services Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Last August, this committee held a hearing on the search for a new FBI headquarters.
“The hearing was in response to GSA’s abrupt cancellation of their plan – years in the making - to consolidate FBI headquarters at a new location, in either Maryland or Virginia.
“The plan involved trading the crumbling Hoover Building to partially offset the costs of new construction.
“Senators weren’t notified of the cancellation in advance and first heard of the decision through the press.
“This is not what accountable government looks like.
“Nonetheless, the hearing ended on a positive note: both the GSA and FBI committed to return to Congress with a workable solution for the FBI headquarters. The plan was do that by November 30.
“A week before that deadline, GSA and FBI indicated they would require an additional 60 days to develop and submit a report detailing a workable solution.
“In response to this request, Ranking Member Carper and I sent a letter emphasizing the importance of receiving a thorough plan from GSA.
“We granted the extension request to ensure GSA and FBI had ample time to consider different financing options for the project.
“The new deadline was set for January 29 of this year, and we expected it to be met.
“The deadline came and went, and GSA didn’t provide us with a report.
“To make matters worse, GSA’s ultimate recommendation contained within the report was leaked to the press two full weeks before the report was delivered to the committee.
“As was the case last summer, members of Congress should have been notified well in advance of the media.
“On February 12, the committee finally received GSA’s overdue report.
“The report contains a revised plan, which recommends the Hoover Building be demolished to make way for the construction of a new headquarters facility in the same location.
“Instead of consolidating all 10,600 FBI headquarters staff into one campus location, the revised plan would move 2,300 headquarters staff to three new facilities around the country.
“The plan estimates the total cost of the new project at $3.3 billion, and indicates the administration will be seeking $2.175 billion in appropriations to fully fund demolishing and rebuilding the Hoover Building.
“While this appropriations request is more than double the $800 million previously requested by GSA, the report estimates that the new plan’s overall cost will be lower than that of the old plan.
“The revised plan is a significant departure from previous plans considered and put forward by GSA and FBI.
“The revised plan eliminates many of FBI’s security requirements.
“It scraps the concept of a consolidated campus; it abandons the need for a remote truck inspection facility; and it discards the requirement of a detached central utility plant.
“Under the old plan, these features were considered critical for FBI’s security.
“Now they are gone. So the question is what happened?
“It has been nearly seven years since this committee first directed GSA to follow through on this project.
“Yet the need for a new FBI headquarters remains as pressing as ever.
“The men and women of the FBI, who work around the clock to keep America safe, require a modern and a functioning office building that meets their needs.
“It is past time for the GSA to implement a workable plan, one that can hold up to committee scrutiny, and deliver the long overdue replacement for the aging Hoover Building.
“The members of this committee want what is best for the American taxpayer, and what is best for the hardworking women and men of the FBI.
“The federal government has already spent over $20 million and 13 years planning for an FBI headquarters.
“The revised plan starts the process from scratch.
“I hope that today’s testimony will clarify how this plan will succeed where previous efforts have failed.”