Washington hopes to slip stadium provision into Congressional spending bill – (News)

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Updated: December 9, 2018
Washington hopes to slip stadium provision into Congressional spending bill –

With FedEx Field seemingly obsolete from the day it opened, Washington owner Daniel Snyder has spent the past few years eyeballing a new stadium. And he’ll reportedly be spending the next few weeks trying to finagle a favorable federal law paving the way for a new home for his team in D.C.

Liz Clarke and Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post report that the franchise has been, and we quote, “working in concert with local and federal officials to insert a stadium provision into the massive spending bill that the Republican-controlled Congress is rushing to complete this month.”

The report cites four unnamed sources to support the claim that Snyder’s team is lobbying Congress to clear the path to build a new venue at the site of RFK Stadium, site of the franchise’s golden years. The effort to bury the provision in a far more complicated spending measure would shortcut concepts like, you know, meaningful public debate on whether a privately-owned sports team should enjoy such benefits.

The urgency comes from the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives will fall under control of the Democratic Party in January, and that it possibly could remain there for the next two years, if not longer. A Democratic-controlled Congress may not be inclined to do Snyder any favors, especially since he donated $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inauguration fund.

The effort isn’t about securing public money (for now); it’s about securing the ability to commercially develop federal land currently available only for “recreational facilities, open space, or public outdoor recreation opportunities.”

In addition to the possible plan to return the team to D.C., Maryland (the franchise’s current host) would like to keep the team via a new facility. Virginia (site of the team’s annual training camp) has been less zealous about becoming the site of the team’s next stadium.

Washington’s lease at FedEx Field runs through 2027. Snyder reportedly wants his next stadium to serve as the nucleus of a broader commercial development, and not (as FedEx Field currently is) a large outdoor arena in the middle of several parking lots.