D.C. Congresswoman says bill for RFK Stadium site could pass within 6 months

Chris Lingebach
July 09, 2020 - 12:48 pm
D.C. Rep: RFK Stadium site bill could pass 'within 6 months'

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A Congressional bill that would allow the Redskins to move back to D.C. would indeed face hurdles, but could potentially pass within six months, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton tells 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.

Holmes Norton is preparing a bill that would allow the District to purchase the federal land on which RFK Stadium sits, thus facilitating a potential return for the team to its old stomping grounds. The only condition, she recently told JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, is the Redskins must first change their name.

That's the only way she foresees the bill passing through the Democratic majority-held U.S. House of Representatives. Norton, as D.C.'s non-voting delegate, can propose bills but is not permitted to vote on their passage.

"The name is the first step, and then (Redskins owner Dan Snyder) still is not home free," Representative Norton said Thursday on 106.7 The Fan. "Not a touchdown yet."

As for the timeline of the bill, "There'll be some distance to go," Norton explained, adding, "I would think you could get there within the next six months."

"Now, mind you, I'm going to try to get that bill done," she said, "but I can't guarantee that it'll be done this session, so there'll be some holdup in the Congress. But the District could use that time to make its own decision about how it wants to use the land, which is by no means a foregone conclusion."

Norton would explain the obstacles standing in the way of the bill's passage include differences of opinion on what that land – should it be returned to the District – should be used for. Many D.C. residents have long championed for the RFK Stadium site to be designated for more housing and retail space.

"There are obstacles," Norton said. "There are differences in the (D.C. Council) on whether the highest and best use for that land, which is the most valuable land left in the District of Columbia – and we don't have much land; we can't build high, so land is more important to us than for other jurisdictions – whether the highest and best use is a team that plays maybe eight times a season, or whether it should be used for housing and retail."

"So it's not by any means decided," she said. "Even if the name is changed, there is still a huge discussion to be had in the Senate and, frankly, lots of disagreement on whether this is the best use for that site. And if that site isn't available, then of course Snyder has to stay where he is or find some other venue."

Norton stopped short of advocating for the team to return to the District, as a matter of personal principle.

"That's a home rule issue that I leave to the District. My job is simply to get the land for the District," she said. "For the decades that I've been in Congress, I have never told the Congress my own opinions. I don't want to sway them one way or the other. They've got to do what's best for the District. I do what's best in the Congress."

Listen to the full interview below.