Norton Files Amendment to NDAA to Give D.C. Mayor Authority Over D.C. National Guard, Same Authority Given to State and Territorial Governors

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

NDAA Will be on House Floor This Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced she filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 (NDAA) to give the District of Columbia home-rule authority over the D.C. National Guard. This amendment would give the D.C. mayor the same authority that the chief executives of territories and states have long had. The House Rules Committee, which decides which amendments may be offered on the bill, will consider amendments on Tuesday evening.

Norton said that the mayor has unique law enforcement knowledge about the District, which puts her in the best position to deploy the Guard for local purposes and 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 would retain authority over federal matters, such as terrorist incidents. Currently, the President controls the D.C. National Guard for both federal and local purposes, raising concerns about the time it would take the President to call out the D.C. National Guard in the event of a natural disaster.

“The District of Columbia mayor is the chief executive for our jurisdiction and has the best knowledge and most reliable expertise for deciding when to deploy our National Guard for local emergencies,” Norton said. “This amendment simply recognizes that reality and gives the District’s chief executive the same authority afforded to governors of states and the territories over their Guards. Because the District has experienced severe flooding in the past, we cannot afford to take chances given authoritative reports on climate change in the National Capital Region.”

Norton’s amendment continues her “Free and Equal D.C.” push in Congress, a set of bills and amendments she will introduce as part of her strategy to give the District expanded home rule and equality, while simultaneously pursuing statehood.


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