Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House, Senate GOP race to finalize coronavirus package ahead of Monday rollout Congress set for messy COVID-19 talks on tight deadline Sunday shows – Coronavirus relief, stimulus talks dominate MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGOP senators push for stimulus checks to almost 2M excluded Americans White House, Congress talk next coronavirus relief bill as COVID-19 continues to surge Schumer announces Blue Jays will play season in Buffalo MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to pay tribute to Lewis at Capitol on Monday Cotton called out for remarks on slavery in criticism of 1619 Project Congress set for messy COVID-19 talks on tight deadline MORE of self-dealing in pressing Senate Republicans to include in their coronavirus relief proposal $1.75 billion to rebuild the FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington.
Democrats suspect Trump is pressing for the money to rebuild the FBI headquarters in downtown D.C. so that it doesn’t move out from its space on 9th Street and Pennsylvania and leave open a prime piece of real estate that could be occupied by a new hotel that would pose serious competition to the Trump International Hotel across the street.
“They don’t have money for food stamps but they have money for an FBI building just so that they can diminish competition for the president’s hotel,” Pelosi said to reporters after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House, Senate GOP race to finalize coronavirus package ahead of Monday rollout Congress set for messy COVID-19 talks on tight deadline Sunday shows – Coronavirus relief, stimulus talks dominate MORE Monday evening.
Pelosi later told reporters that Trump wants to refurbish the FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue “so that nobody could build a hotel across the street” from the Trump International hotel.
Schumer also dinged the president over the earmark.
“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the FBI headquarters that benefits Trump hotel and they say they have no money for food assistance. What the heck is going on?” Schumer said.
“We just found out it was in it as we read it,” he said, describing the surprise of finding the FBI provision buried in the GOP proposal.
Pelosi and Schumer asked the senior White House officials about rebuilding the FBI headquarters at the meeting.
Even Senate Republicans didn’t seem thrilled about adding money for a new FBI headquarters at a time when they’ve tried to keep out provisions not directly related to responding to the pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhite House, Senate GOP race to finalize coronavirus package ahead of Monday rollout Congress set for messy COVID-19 talks on tight deadline AFSCME launches ad calling for trillion in relief aid for local governments MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters during a press conference earlier Monday that he was not aware the money for the FBI headquarters was included.
“You’ll have to ask them why they insisted that be included,” he said, pointing reporters to the White House.
Asked why the special earmark for the FBI was included in the Republican proposal, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyMnuchin makes deficit hawks nervous on relief bill talks Senate GOP punts coronavirus package to next week Romney will oppose Trump Fed nominee who backed gold standard MORE (R-Ala.) told reporters: “Good question.”
“This is an administration proposal to move on with the FBI. They need a new FBI building. It’s not safe to work in and they’re talking about downsizing it anyway,” he said.
But the senior GOP lawmaker conceded the “link” between the pandemic and the need for a new FBI headquarters is a “stretch.”