WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 26, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today thanked the District of Columbia National Guard for providing critical assistance to D.C. authorities during this weekend’s snowstorm, but said that “it is absurd that the District does not have home-rule authority over its own National Guard in cases of emergency, as states do.” Norton earlier succeeded in getting authority for the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, rather than only the President, to deploy the Guard in order to avoid the federal bureaucracy necessary to call up the D.C. National Guard. However, Norton said this historic snowstorm points up to the need for her bill that would cut through unnecessary bureaucratic layers and allow the mayor to deploy the D.C. National Guard during local emergencies, including natural disasters and civil disturbances unrelated to national or homeland security, after consultation with the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard. Currently, the President can deploy the D.C. National Guard for national purposes, for which Norton has no objection. Norton said her prior bill to bring local deployment down to the Guard’s commanding general was a necessary improvement.
“We are almost there, but only D.C.’s mayor has the expertise to know where the guard is needed most in the city and my bill for the executive to consult with the commanding general is what governors do before deployment anyway,” Norton. “D.C.’s mayor needs the authority to quickly deploy National Guard units during emergencies, and our bill cuts out unnecessary bureaucratic permission that could cause delays when timing is everything. What is at stake is not only a home-rule right, but one that has become essential for public safety given the increasing frequency of serious natural disasters.”