Republicans have an idea for how to take politics out of the FBI: Take the FBI out of Washington and send it to Huntsville, Ala. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has accused the bureau of overzealously investigating former President Trump and his allies, wants to strip the bureau of funding for a new headquarters unless it relocates to the midsize Alabama city a 700-mile drive from the nation’s capital, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Huntsville proposal, which Jordan plans to attach to coming appropriations bills, is unlikely to become law but marks the latest GOP effort to force FBI changes. It comes as the bureau is inching closer to moving from its current headquarters, a brutalist, concrete behemoth blocks from the White House, to the city’s suburbs. Republicans have threatened to obstruct funding for a new facility as part of a broader swipe at the FBI, with some going so far as saying the agency should be dismantled. FBI Director Christopher Wray has repeatedly defended the bureau’s integrity. Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, have vehemently denied that investigations are influenced by partisanship. Asked about the Alabama proposal, the FBI said that any budget cuts would be “detrimental to the support the FBI provides to the American people” and that there are “numerous operational reasons” to keep the headquarters in the Washington area, including its closeness to its training academy near Quantico, Va., and other intelligence agencies it interacts with daily. Members of both parties have promoted the idea of moving federal workers and agencies out of the Washington area whether for political or parochial reasons. The FBI works out of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, where officials have quick access to prosecutors in the Justice Department’s headquarters across Pennsylvania Avenue. The bureau has complained that the headquarters are crumbling and no longer meets the needs of an organization that has grown in the nearly 50 years since President Gerald Ford dedicated the building. Jordan wants to see the bureau based at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, a U.S. Army post where the FBI already has a campus that is home to 1,000 employees.
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