Will Congress Help Out In Washington D. C. Effort To Land the NFL’s Commanders?

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) lays on the turf with Washington Commanders defensive end James Smith-Williams (96) over him after an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Landover, Md. The Commanders won 23-21. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Congress controls the RFK Stadium property.

It is unclear if the new ownership group of the National Football League’s Washington Commanders led by Joel Harris has a Washington, D. C. option in its search for a new stadium in the market. The Commanders ownership has an old stadium in Landover, Maryland and no one connected to the business wants the team to play games at that facility beyond 2030. But Harris’s group may be gaining a bargaining chip in its effort to get a new facility in Maryland, or in the District or in Virginia. Kentucky Republican Representative James Comer, the chairman of the House committee that oversees the District, has introduced bipartisan legislation that could help Washington, D.C. elected officials take over the closed RFK Stadium site and turn it into a stadium-village that could include mixed-use development and a stadium for the Washington Commanders’ business.

It is very difficult to build big projects in Washington, D. C. because the federal government has control over certain properties. Washington, D. C. is not a state and local residents don’t have local control over projects, budgets and other things. The RFK stadium land is owned by the federal government. The D.C. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Campus Revitalization Act would extend the lease between the District and the federal government for up to 99 years. The proposed legislation, which was co-sponsored by  Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton who is a non-voting member of the House, would allow for construction of a stadium, commercial and residential developments, or recreational facilities on the roughly 142-acre site. In the stadium game, Harris and his ownership group is playing the getting to know you phase and acquainting themselves with Maryland and Virginia politicians along with those in the District. Building a stadium-village takes time.

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The Washington Commanders (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky