State Watch

DC delegate: Possible bill to repeal home rule ‘radical’ and ‘very unexpected’

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 to announce a new lawsuit against far-right groups involved with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Greg Nash

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) called a Republican’s proposal to repeal Washington’s home rule “radical” in an interview with the The Washington Post published this week

Some House Republicans, with the party widely expected to win back the majority after the midterms, have indicated a desire to restrict the city’s autonomy amid complaints related to its COVID-19 policies and crime rate.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) said it was “past time for Congress to repeal the District of Columbia Home Rule Act and reclaim its duty,” in a recent interview with the Daily Caller

Holmes Norton, a nonvoting delegate in the House, said such proposals were both radical and “unexpected.”

“It’s something to be extremely concerned about, because the District may well find itself in the minority next term,” she told The Post. “This is very radical, and I must say very unexpected. It will take every bit of energy I have to make sure it does not happen.”

Prior to the Home Rule Act, D.C. was primarily governed by Congress. The 1973 law established a city government with a mayor and council, giving the district autonomy with some congressional oversight.

Clyde, making his case to repeal the 1973 law, cited concerns with rising crime and homelessness in D.C. as well as Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser’s pandemic restrictions.

The Hill has reached out to both Clyde and Bowser for comment. 

A coalition of Democrats are pushing in the other direction, proposing to give D.C. statehood and more autonomy, which Republicans have long opposed. 

The district is deeply blue — Democrats have won the past four presidential elections with 90 percent of the vote or higher. 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the minority leader in the House, has indicated a willingness to take greater control of the  city — if crime “comes out of hand.”

“Just last week you had a shooting and a murder in Georgetown. There’s not an element of this community that people feel safe in,” he told the Vince Coglianese Show in an interview earlier this month, referring also to the shooting of a GOP baseball practice in 2017. 

“These are the concerns, and if it comes out of hand, there’s gotta be greater control taken over to provide the safety for the nation’s capital.”

Tags Congress D.C. Eleanor Holmes Norton House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy Muriel Bowser Washington

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