Norton Introduces Bill Requiring D.C. National Guard Commanding General to Live in D.C.

Apr 1, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced a bill to require the Commanding General of the District of Columbia National Guard to reside in D.C. The bill, the District of Columbia National Guard Commanding General Residency Act, is similar to other bills Norton has introduced requiring certain federal officials to live in D.C., including U.S. District Court and Circuit Court judges for D.C., the U.S. Attorney for D.C., the U.S. Marshal for the D.C. Superior Court, the U.S. Marshal for the U.S. District Court for D.C., and the Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for D.C.

“As we try to resolve all the ways D.C. is treated differently than the states, the lack of residency requirements for federal officials responsible for public safety and law enforcement, as required for other jurisdictions, is surely an important one,” Norton said. “Adding a residency requirement for the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard will help ensure the Commanding General has in-depth knowledge of the issues and challenges that D.C. residents face and bring the D.C. National Guard in line with those of the states.”

Norton has also introduced the District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act, which would give the D.C. mayor control over the D.C. National Guard. Governors of the states and territories control their respective National Guards.

Norton’s introductory statement is below.

 

Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

on the District of Columbia National Guard Commanding General Residency Act

 

April 1, 2021

Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, today, I introduce the District of Columbia National Guard Commanding General Residency Act, which would require the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard to reside in the District of Columbia, just as states and territories can require that the top official of their National Guard reside within their state or territory.

The D.C. National Guard is a federal entity. Currently, the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard is not required to reside in the District. Congress has justifiably required that certain federal officials reside in the jurisdiction they serve to ensure in-depth knowledge of the unique issues and challenges residents and these federal officials face. Additionally, the mayor of D.C., unlike the governors of the states and territories, cannot deploy the National Guard, making residency of the Commanding General of the National Guard that much more important, though my District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 657) would give the mayor the authority to deploy the D.C. National Guard. The appointment of the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard is made by the President, not the mayor, whereas the top official of the National Guards in the states and territories are usually appointed by the governor. All of these are compelling reasons why the Commanding General of the D.C. Guard should be required to be a D.C. resident.

This bill follows in the footsteps of several other bills that I have introduced that would require federal officials serving D.C. exclusively to reside in the District. For example, my District of Columbia Federal Officials Residency Equality Act (H.R. 3785, 116th Congress) would require the federal district court judges, federal circuit court judges, U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals for the District to live in D.C. I have also previously introduced a bill (H.R. 4184, 116th Congress) that would require the Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia and the Director of the District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency to reside in the District.

With the nomination of the current D.C. National Guard Commanding General, Major General William J. Walker, to be the House Sergeant at Arms, this bill is more timely than ever. Moreover, the attack of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and the events at Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020, are prime examples of why this bill is so important. Residents of the District would feel at least somewhat more confident in the D.C. National Guard if the Commanding General were required to be a D.C. resident.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

 

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