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) announced today that she has filed an amendment to the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) to give the District of Columbia home-rule authority over the D.C. National Guard. Norton filed her amendment at the House Rules Committee, which is expected to consider H.R. 2810 next week. Norton’s amendment is the same text as her bill, the District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act, which would give the D.C. mayor the authority that the chief executive of states and territories have over their Guards.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

The mayor would be able 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. The President of the United States would retain final authority over federal matters. Currently, the President controls the D.C. National Guard for both national and local purposes. 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.

“D.C.’s Mayor has the necessary expertise and knowledge of our city to make the best decision on when and how to deploy our National Guard for local matters, such as natural disasters,” Norton said. “My bill would make the D.C. National Guard a more localized force that is able to react quickly to local emergencies, while still keeping the Commanding General in the decision-making process, and preserving the President as the final authority over federal matters. All we are asking for is the same authority for the D.C.’s mayor that chief executives of states and U.S. territories have over their Guards.”

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