The Committee on Oversight and Reform in the U.S. House passed a bill by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton on Wednesday that would require the head of the District National Guard to live in the city.
“D.C. has no control over its own National Guard,” Norton said in a statement. “This bill would help ensure the Guard’s connection to the residents it serves and in-depth knowledge of the unique issues and challenges faced by D.C. residents.”
Because D.C. still isn’t a state, the president controls the D.C. National Guard.
Norton has been vying to put control of the D.C. National Guard in the District mayor’s hands since August of last year.
“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,” Norton said in 2021.
“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,” she said.
She has cited the Jan. 6 riot as a reason the bill needs to pass, saying it would have “ended the insurrection hours earlier,” and she called it “another step toward granting full equality to D.C. on our road to statehood.”
The D.C. National Guard Home Rule Act passed the House last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2022 but was stripped out of the final version of the NDAA.
The next step for the current bill would be consideration on the House floor.