The Army Corps of Engineers won’t leave the Fort Hamilton Army Base for an office in Manhattan — a big victory for Rep. Michael Grimm, who had inserted language into an appropriations bill that would have barred the Corps from using federal funds to move.
The Corps announcement came on Friday, after the House passed an energy and water appropriations bill — which included language inserted by Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) in early June that blocked the Corps from siphoning off some of its normal appropriation for relocation.
“We have had conversations with Rep. Grimm: We [no longer] have any plans to move our permanent staff off of Fort Hamilton,” said Corps spokesman Justin Ward.
The battle began in March, when the Corps said it was eying a spot in Lower Manhattan because only five of its 100 employees live in Bay Ridge.
But the proposal came under fire because taxpayers would pay the $1 million a year in rent for the glitzy new office, up from the $130,000 that the Corps pays at Fort Hamilton. Others worried that a Corps pullout would open the base up to development.
Grimm had vowed that “the flag will not be moved — not on my watch.” So he inserted language into the appropriations bill that really put the squeeze on the Corps plan:
“None of the funds in this Act may be used by the Corps of Engineers to relocate, or study the relocation of, any regional division headquarters of the Corps located at a military installation or any permanent employees of such headquarters,” the bill reads.
Inserting such language into appropriations bills is nothing unique, of course. The very same bill, for example, bars the government from shutting down its controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear depository construction project, though both Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and President Obama want to curtail the effort.