Norton Renews Call for Passage of Her Bills to Respond to Attack on Capitol

Jul 7, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) this week recognized the six-month anniversary of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Since the attack, Norton has introduced several bills to mitigate similar attacks in the future and to provide greater home rule for the District of Columbia. Norton called on Congress to pass these bills.

The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 657) would give the D.C. mayor control over the D.C. National Guard. The Senate companion bill (S. 130) was introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE). The governors of the states and territories control their National Guards, but the President controls the D.C. National Guard.

“The District of Columbia mayor is the chief executive officer of our jurisdiction and has the best knowledge and most  expertise about when to deploy our National Guard,” Norton said. “My bill, which I had introduced for years before the January 6th insurrection, simply gives the District’s chief executive officer the same authority afforded to governors of states and territories over their Guards. Our bill would afford D.C. a critical element of home rule as we simultaneously fight for statehood, and it would have helped ended the insurrection hours earlier on January 6th.”

The District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act (H.R. 656)would repeal the President’s authority to federalize the D.C. police department. The Senate companion bill (S. 90) was introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).

“No local police department in the country is at risk of having the President federalize its officers, no matter the circumstances, except the District of Columbia’s,” Norton said. “The District police department should be treated no differently from the police departments of any other jurisdiction. The citizens of the District deserve to know that their police department cannot be taken over by the federal government.”

The No Fencing at the United States Capitol Complex Act (H.R. 1017)would prohibit the installation of permanent fencing on the grounds of the United States Capitol complex. The Senate companion bill (S. 1030) was introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

“Permanent fencing would send an un-American message to the nation and the world, by transforming our democracy from one that is accessible and ‘of the people’ to one that is exclusive and fearful of its own citizens,” Norton said. “Already, the distance between government and the people has grown, with trust in government at historic lows. We should not entrench that distance further by placing intimidating barriers between ourselves as public servants and the people we serve, especially when such barriers are neither effective nor necessary.”

The District of Columbia Membership on Capitol Police Board Act (H.R. 1654) would make the chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department an ex officio, non-voting member of the Capitol Police Board (CPB). The CPB oversees the U.S. Capitol Police. Norton said that, as Congress considers reforms to the CPB, the CPB should appreciate the full context in which it operates, including its impact on D.C. residents, especially those who live close to the Capitol.

“Currently, no one on the CPB represents the interests of D.C. residents,” Norton said. “This bill will ensure that D.C. has  a role in the decisions of the CPB, which affect D.C. residents more than any other Americans. The actions of the CPB significantly impact residents of the District, and this bill will ensure D.C. has a role in these important decisions.”