Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she was especially gratified that the fiscal year 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill approved by the House includes $34.5 million for the continued development of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters on the St. Elizabeths campus in Ward 8, in sharp contrast to last year, when the House did not provide any funding.
"I appreciate that the Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Norman Dicks (D-WA) visited the site and saw the impressive work that has been accomplished," Norton said. "Construction on the very technical infrastructure for the entire complex has been completed, making it particularly wasteful to discontinue building and allow it to atrophy. The design work on the historic building where the Secretary's office will be located will soon be underway, and funding is in place for the completion of the Coast Guard headquarters. It is clear the recession and recovery have caused the project to be slowed, but the commitment to complete it is in face."
Norton expects the Senate to fund the full $89 million President Obama requested for the project in his fiscal year 2013 DHS budget.
Meanwhile, the Congresswoman is also focusing on a half-dozen other federal construction projects now underway in the District. She called a dozen contractors to a recent meeting to inform them that she would be monitoring hiring on their projects, as she has the St. Elizabeths construction, and expects comparable or better results.
Norton has already obtained almost $2 billion for the DHS headquarters project in Ward 8, which has put many D.C. residents to work. The Congresswoman, who is ranking member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, which has jurisdiction over federal construction and leases, has closely monitored the St. Elizabeths project, requiring monthly reports on D.C. residents hired and making unannounced visits. Federal construction projects do not allow preferential hiring from the location of the project, but aggressive outreach to local communities is allowed. Although D.C. residents are only 10% of the region's population, they reached 25% of the workers on the St. Elizabeths site.