Van Hollen, Norton, Carper, Maloney, Brown send letter calling for DC mayor to be given control of the DC National Guard in final National Defense Authorization Act


03 December 2021

Today, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Senator Tom Carper (D-Of the.), Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NEW YORK), and Representative Anthony Brown (D-Maryland.) sent a letter urging chairmen and senior members of the House and Senate armed services committees to give the mayor of the District of Columbia control of the DC National Guard in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022 (NDAA). State and Territory Governors control their National Guards, while the President controls the DC National Guard.

The house-adopted version of the NDAA gives the DC mayor control of the DC National Guard. Republicans have blocked consideration of an amendment tabled by Van Hollen and Carper to include this provision in the Senate version.

Members wrote, “The attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 and the events in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020 are prime examples of why the mayor should control the DC National Guard. During January 6, the Trump administration refused to deploy the DC National Guard to Capitol Hill for several hours, which likely claimed lives and prolonged the insurgency. In Lafayette Square, the Trump administration used the DC National Guard and other federal forces to attack largely peaceful protesters.

When the House passed its version of the NDAA, it was the first time either House of Congress had passed a bill to give the mayor of DC in control of the DC National Guard. Representatives Norton, Maloney, Brown and Senators Van Hollen and Carper have already introduced the DC National Guard Home Rule Act to address this issue.

The letter is here and lower.

Dear Presidents Smith and Reed and Members of the Rogers and Inhofe Rankings:

As sponsors and co-sponsors of the House and Senate bills that would give the mayor of the District of Columbia control of the DC National Guard, we urge you to include the provision in the Defense Authorization Act. National Assembly adopted by the House for the 2022 fiscal year (NDAA) which would give the mayor this authority in the final NDAA. Giving the mayor that authority would improve public safety in DC and would be the biggest expansion of DC autonomy since the passage of the Local Self-Government Act of 1973.

National Guards in states and territories operate under dual federal and state / territorial jurisdiction, but the DC National Guard operates only under federal jurisdiction. Each governor, including the governors of the three territories with National Guards, has the power to deploy their National Guards, while the President has the power to federalize and then deploy any of the National Guards. The mayor and the president should have the same respective control over the DC National Guard that the governors and the president have over the National Guards in states and territories.

The attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 and the events in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020 are prime examples of why the mayor should control the DC National Guard. During January 6, the Trump administration refused to deploy the DC National Guard to Capitol Hill for several hours, which likely claimed lives and prolonged the insurgency. In Lafayette Square, the Trump administration used the DC National Guard and other federal forces to attack largely peaceful protesters.

By far the most likely need to deploy the DC National Guard today would be for natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, and to restore order following local civil unrest. The mayor, who knows DC better than any federal official and works closely with federal security officials, should be able to deploy the DC National Guard for natural disasters and local civil unrest. In the event of a large-scale attack on a federal facility like the Capitol Attack, a DC mayor who controlled the DC National Guard would almost certainly immediately deploy the DC National Guard to protect the facility. However, in the unlikely event that a mayor does not deploy the DC National Guard, the President would have the power to federalize and deploy the DC National Guard to do so. This is no different than the division of authority between a governor and a president in the event of a large-scale attack on a federal facility in a state or territory today.

Further, this bill would constitute a historic transfer of powers of self-government to the district that Congress began with the passage of the Home Rule Act of 1973, when it delegated most of its powers over district matters. to an elected mayor and council. The district should have the same control over its local affairs as the states and territories.

Thank you for your attention to this important request.

Truly,



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