WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have renewed calls for D.C. statehood after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building Wednesday. Many have questioned the police response when the U.S. Capitol was breached.
Under federal law, the president controls the D.C. National Guard, while the governors of the states and territories control their National Guards. Under the Home Rule Act, the president has the authority to federalize the D.C. police department.
Guard troops from D.C.'s border states moved into D.C. Wednesday after the Department of Defense initially denied additional D.C. National Guard troops to be deployed to the Capitol, according to the DC Council in a statement to WUSA9.
Now, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) have issued a joint statement saying they will soon reintroduce the “District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act” and the “District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act” to give the District’s mayor control over the D.C. National Guard and to repeal the president’s authority to federalize the D.C. police department.
“Wednesday’s riot makes clear once again that D.C. statehood must become a reality and that the District must have the power to deploy the National Guard when the need is present,” Maloney said.
Proponents of D.C. statehood came closer than ever before in 2020. In February, HR 51 passed on party lines out of the House Oversight Committee. And in June, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) brought the gavel down after approval of the historic vote on the House floor which sought to establish Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state of the United States.
Following Georgia runoff elections won by Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the U.S. Senate will be locked in a 50-50 tie between Republicans and Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris will hold the tie-breaking vote.
“The violence we witnessed Wednesday in our nation’s capital was unprecedented and extreme and has left our citizens reeling, especially those who call Washington, D.C. home," Sen. Tom Carper said. "It also underscored the importance of DC statehood and made it crystal clear why DC officials must have full control over their city’s own security and police force to secure the public safety of its residents."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement vowing to again bring the measure on D.C. statehood to a full vote in the House of Representatives this year.