Bill seeking to grant DC control over National Guard introduced for 3rd time

A bill reintroduced to Congress this week seeks to give D.C.’s mayor control over the District’s own National Guard force.

The bill also calls for repealing one part of the Home Rule Act that allows the president to federalize D.C.’s police force in the case of an emergency.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware is the bill’s primary sponsor. He was joined by Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen and D.C.’s lone congressional representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton.

“Until our D.C. statehood bill becomes law, there is no constitutional or policy reason Congress should not expand D.C.’s authority to govern its local affairs,” Norton said in a press release.

“Our bills repealing the president’s authority to federalize the local D.C. police department and to give D.C.’s mayor control over the D.C. National Guard, like governors of states have over their National Guards, places D.C. closer to having control over some of its most vital affairs,” she continued.

Carper and Van Hollen first introduced the bill in June 2020, after what Carper called former President Donald Trump’s “unconstitutional use of force against peaceful protesters” in the District.

Only the president has the power to call in D.C.’s National Guard. The lack of local control came into the spotlight again when District leaders were unable to call in the National Guard during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Carper and Van Hollen reintroduced the bill for a second time after this incident. So far, support for the bill has fallen along partisan lines.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up