The White House stirred controversy by demanding that the newest round of coronavirus stimulus including funding to rebuild the FBI headquarters on its current spot — a decision that would be more expensive than plans to relocate to Virginia, but which could block competitors from snapping up real estate near President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel.
But that’s not all the Trump administration is demanding. According to the Associated Press, the White House also wants the bill to include $377 million to renovate the West Wing.
“The sum, included in the draft aid legislation from Senate Republicans, would also cover a new security screening facility for the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex,” reported Zeke Miller. “While lawmakers, including Republicans, have balked at the administration’s request for more than $1 billion in the bill for a new FBI headquarters in Washington, the West Wing plan has drawn relatively little scrutiny. The administration says the White House work would ‘increase the White House campus’s ability to detect, mitigate and alleviate external security and pandemic threats.'”
The report notes that no full upgrade of the West Wing has taken place since 1933, and that “renovations have been planned and delayed by previous administrations — most recently by President Barack Obama in 2013 — in part because no president has wanted to temporarily give up the Oval Office for months or longer to allow for the substantial work to be done.”