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After a rare bipartisan push to help D.C., legislation allowing the city to redevelop an eye-opening renovation of the aborted RFK Stadium cleared the House on Wednesday with overwhelming support.

The bill, the DC RFK Memorial Stadium Campus Revitalization Act, was approved by a vote of 348-55. If it passes the Senate, the bill would allow D.C. to turn the federally-owned riverfront into an attractive mixed-use development with commercial and residential uses — and possibly a new stadium for the Washington Commanders, according to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. (D) is being monitored.

The mayor saw RFK’s legislation as the first step toward starting more serious talks with commanders. Owner Josh Harris wants the team to return to its former home, and Wednesday’s pass will bring Bowser closer to that goal — though it’s not guaranteed.

“Tonight’s vote was a huge step forward in our efforts to unlock the full potential of the RFK Campus – for our residents and visitors, the community and the return of DC,” Bowser said in a statement.

The legislation was sponsored by Representative James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which traditionally Targets DC on crime and policing issues. His leadership and partnership with Bowser and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the bill’s chief sponsor, became one of the most surprising political developments of the past year and ultimately served as a powerful bipartisan alliance that helped move the bill through the process. Home finishing line.

Comer said he decided to introduce the legislation because he saw how the redevelopment of RFK would serve as a major economic boost for the city and would help move the demolished stadium to D.C., a new stadium or No.

On the floor Wednesday, Comer pointed to the significant control Congress has exercised over the city — including the bipartisan passage of the city’s amended criminal code last year — and said this bill is an extension of that “constitutional mandate.”

The bill “represents Congress doing its job to control the district by authorizing the best use of local land to help the city thrive,” Comer said. “We want this to be the nation’s capital, home to the taxpayer-funded federal workforce and host to millions of American visitors and international tourists.”

The bill transfers administrative control of the 174-acre riverfront from the federal government to D.C. for 99 years rent-free, allowing for a variety of development options ranging from a football stadium to restaurants, shops and housing. The city will pay any costs associated with remediation or environmental assessment of the land, as well as any costs associated with the demolition of the vacant stadium and future development and maintenance of the site. Norton and Comer described the arrangement as a “win-win” for D.C. and the National Park Service, which will no longer bear the costs of maintaining the land. The bill also sets aside 30 percent of the land for parks and open space and calls for preserving access to the Anacostia River.

“We can’t allow the destruction of the largest unused land in D.C. to be used for productivity,” Norton said. He said on X.

Bowser and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) sent a similar message to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.I.) Wednesday morning. He urged support for the bill, which could “create thousands of new jobs” and “make it an attractive destination, not only for the pleasure of the residents of the district, but also for the 21 million visitors who travel to the capital of the country every year.”

Perhaps in strategy, They didn’t mention a football stadium — something Mendelson didn’t warm to anyway, an issue for some members of Congress who objected to the idea of ​​using public money or public land for a stadium. The law prohibits the use of federal funds for a stadium — but not local funds.

As RFK’s bill moved through the House, regional competition to host the Commanders in a new stadium hung prominently in the background. Harris has discussed the possibility of a new stadium in one of the three counties with Bowser, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R). — and in DC, any more serious discussions are entirely dependent on Congress passing the RFK Act.

The bill passed Wednesday despite unanimous opposition from Maryland’s delegation, as Moore seeks to keep the commanders in their current home — soon to be known as FedEx Field.

“Like the rest of the Maryland delegation, I believe that Prince George’s County, Maryland, should be able to compete on the field to protect Washington’s governors,” said Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-MD). But this bill gives DC an unfair advantage, an interested jurisdiction that is certainly not a level playing field when federal government subsidized land is freely transferred.

Raskin’s vote was not recorded, but when asked by a reporter why he did not vote, Raskin ran back into the House chamber. Trying to fix that. He said he intended to say no.

Raskin, who is one of D.C.’s staunch supporters of the House Bill, said he doesn’t see the bill as a House Bill issue because it deals with federal land — which places restrictions on appropriated land, such as keeping multimillion-dollar sports franchises from helping the area. or federal public funds.

Asked if he would oppose public funding for FedEx field improvements, Raskin said it depends. If D.C. gets a federal land grant and uses public money to attract commanders, Maryland would struggle to compete and it would be unfair, they argued.

“It creates a very different situation. It’s creating a problem that I want to avoid. The problem that I want to avoid is the federal government getting involved in a big bonanza for private franchises,” Raskin said.

Moore told reporters Wednesday that he had a “very close relationship with the team.”

“My interest and our request for the commanders to remain in Prince George’s County is not diminishing in any way,” he said.

FedEx Commanders Stadium will complete the naming-rights agreement two years ago

Meanwhile, the Virginians are more focused on the potential for new basketball and hockey arenas for the Washington Wizards and Capitals after reaching a handshake deal with Youngkin to move the teams from D.C.’s Capital One Arena to their future home. at Potomac Yard. That major loss to DC — and the resurgence of downtown — raises Bowser’s fears as she continues to pursue the commanders.

He looked at the ownership of commanders. Minority Owner of Mark Ian; It is mentioned “Reliable Bipartisan Landslide Support” for the Act

Still, even if the bill passes the House, a new football stadium at RFK — or any development there — is a long way off.

First, the bill will go to the Senate, where there is currently no clear mantle-bearer to advocate for it. DC’s bills won’t appear alone on the Senate floor, and RFK’s bill would be subject to a filibuster, requiring the support of 60 senators to advance. Some non-controversial bills could pass with unanimous consent — though that’s also highly unlikely because of a pair of Marylanders who want the governors to stay in their state.

If the bill passes Congress and gets President Biden’s signature, DC will enter the race for commanders more formally. The decision will be up to Harris. Moore has previously expressed openness to using public funds to upgrade the existing stadium, and the state has already poured $400 million into the area’s Blue Line corridor revitalization project. Bowser and Mendelsohn offered Leonsys a $500 million offer to keep the teams to upgrade Capital One Arena, leading some observers to speculate that this could end up as a floor in the managers’ talks.

In addition, Bowser needs support from the DC Council, which, while using public money to keep the Capitals and Wizards together, is divided on using public money to build a new football stadium. And the surrounding neighbors have already expressed doubts about the plan.

Many recommend using the parcel for more affordable housing, something Bowser said should be included in any development there. She said she envisions a vibrant mixed-use area — not just “a lot of asphalt parking and one use” — with dining, parking and entertainment opportunities.

In support of the bill, a handful of longtime members of Congress expressed nostalgia for the days when RFK was a “cornerstone of our nation’s capital sports legacy,” said Rep. Benny G. Thompson (D-Miss.).

“Just two miles from Capitol Hill, RFK Stadium has been a premier sports and entertainment venue for nearly 50 years,” said Representative James E. Clyburn (D.Sc.). “Today, the stadium and surrounding land sit empty on the banks of the Anacostia River.”

He said the bill could eventually change that.

Erin Cox contributed to this report.