August 30, 2021

Van Hollen, Norton, Maloney, Carper, and Brown Announce Their Bill to Give D.C. Mayor Control Over D.C. National Guard Included in National Defense Authorization Act, Markup Wednesday

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Congressman Anthony Brown (D-Md.) announced that their District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act, which would give the D.C. mayor control over the D.C. National Guard (DCNG), has been included in the chairman’s mark of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Currently, the President controls the DCNG, while the governors of the states and territories control their National Guards. The House Armed Services Committee will mark up the chairman’s mark on Wednesday.

“On January 6th, as a violent mob of insurrectionists attacked the Capitol, District of Columbia officials were left hamstrung, as the Department of Defense took hours to approve the deployment of the National Guard – a delay it has never adequately explained. It’s clear that the District must have complete authority over its National Guard to protect its own safety and security and that of our nation’s capital. I’m glad to see the House Armed Services Committee include this vital measure in their proposed National Defense Authorization Act, and I’ll continue pressing my colleagues in the Senate to follow suit,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“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 own National Guard,” Congresswoman Norton said. “The D.C. National Guard Home Rule Act, which I had introduced for years before the January 6th insurrection, simply gives the District’s chief executive the same authority afforded to governors of states and territories over their Guards. This bill would have ended the insurrection hours earlier on January 6th and would afford D.C. a critical element of home rule as we simultaneously fight for statehood. Today's inclusion of our bill in the fiscal year 2022 NDAA is another step toward granting full equality to D.C. on our road to statehood. I thank House Committee on Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, who is a strong supporter of D.C. statehood, for including the bill in the NDAA." 

“Given the unprecedented attack against our hallowed halls of Congress on January 6, we must ensure that the Mayor of the District of Columbia is granted the appropriate authorities to mobilize and deploy the National Guard,” said Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “It is past time that D.C.’s local elected officials have the same tools that every other state executive official has to protect public safety during emergencies, and I applaud the House Armed Services Committee for including this important amendment.” 

“On January 6th, our nation witnessed an unprecedented assault by a violent mob at the U.S. Capitol in the District of Columbia. While death and destruction unfolded as the insurrectionists made their way through the city, the Mayor of D.C. was unable to deploy the D.C. National Guard herself. All fifty states and four U.S. territories can operate their National Guard units under the command of local leaders – yet the District of Columbia cannot,” Senator Carper said. “As a former Governor, I recall numerous instances in which I called on the Delaware National Guard to respond to emergency situations, such as floods, blizzards, ice storms, drought, and more. I know the importance of being a Commander-in-Chief of my state’s National Guard, and the valiant work that our civilian soldiers have done for decades to protect our citizens and property. That is one of the reasons why I have worked for years with Congresswoman Holmes Norton to admit Washington, D.C., as our 51st state and provide equal rights to the Americans who call the District home. I’m glad to see that the House Armed Services Committee will include this important and long overdue measure.”

“Last year, we witnessed the Trump Administration’s unacceptable order for the D.C. Guard to use force against peaceful protestors and delay preparation and response to the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. In doing so, the previous administration put the lives of D.C. residents in jeopardy and undermined our national security,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “I commend Congresswoman Norton’s tireless advocacy for the rights of her city, our neighbors, and all those who live in Washington, D.C. By giving the D.C. mayor the same authority as state and territorial governors over its Guard, we’ll take another important step toward full statehood and ensure both safety and emergency responsiveness in our nation’s capital.”