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Metro Brief: Home Security Dept. complex in Ward 8 gets additional funding

District of Columbia

On January 26, 2015
St. Elizabeths Campus

Credit: stelizabethsdevelopment.com

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) reported that an additional $48.6 million for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consolidation at St. Elizabeths in Ward 8 was included in the fiscal year 2015 DHS Appropriations bill, which passed the House last week.  The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Omnibus), which was enacted into law in December, provided $188 million for DHS consolidation at St. Elizabeths and the surrounding infrastructure improvements.

This funding ensures the completion of structures around the center building complex, which will house the DHS secretary and top DHS officials.  The St. Elizabeths funding is not controversial in the FY15 DHS appropriations bill, but anti-immigration amendments added to the bill may encounter significant push back in the Senate, and the president issued a veto threat on the bill because of those provisions.

“This bill is threatened by its anti-immigration amendments, which should not and will not be signed into law by the president,” said Norton.  “However, I believe the funding for St. Elizabeths will survive in the end.  The General Services Administration (GSA) committed to Congress that it would update its St. Elizabeths Master Plan, and now the House, which has been hesitant in funding the consolidation at St. Elizabeths, has included funding that is essential for the consolidation.  With the DHS secretary, top officials, and another 700 DHS employees moving to the St. Elizabeths campus in Ward 8, I am more confident than ever that the slow construction of the DHS complex will not keep it from being completed.”

The first building, the Coast Guard headquarters, was completed on time and on budget because Norton was able to get nearly $1.4 billion for that building upfront as a part of stimulus funding.  Since then, however, with sequestration and other budget cuts, annual appropriations bills have been slow to provide the amounts needed to complete the complex on time, leading to steeply increased construction costs.  In September, the GSA named the contractors for the Center Building.

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