Norton Files Amendment to Give D.C. Mayor Local Authority Over D.C. National Guard—Same Authority State and Territorial Governors Have Over Their Guards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515) to give the District of Columbia home-rule authority over the D.C. National Guard. Norton filed her amendment with the House Rules Committee, which will consider amendments to H.R. 5515 on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. Currently, the President controls the D.C. National Guard for both national and local purposes.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

The text of Norton’s amendment is the same as the text of her stand-alone bill, the District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 1658), that would give the D.C. mayor the authority that the chief executives of states and territories have over their Guards. Norton said the mayor’s authority over the District’s local police force, the Metropolitan Police Department, gives him or her unique law enforcement knowledge about actual and approaching local danger and risks in the District and puts him or her in the best position to deploy the Guard for local purposes. Norton stressed that the mayor would be able to deploy the D.C. National Guard only 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. The President of the United States would retain final authority over federal matters, as he or she does with the Guards of the states and territories.

“The District of Columbia mayor is the chief executive for our jurisdiction and has the best knowledge and most reliable expertise about when to deploy our National Guard for local emergencies, for which state and territorial national guards are generally used in the United States,” Norton said. “The President, on the other hand, has no local background to decide whether deployment is needed, such as when a natural disaster occurs or there are street disturbances. My bill would give the District the same authority afforded to governors of states and the territories over local matters. The President would still retain authority over the Guard for national matters, the same as in the states and territories. My amendment is another step toward granting equality to D.C. on our road to statehood.”


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