Governors bristle at Bush Guard proposal
By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer 19 minutes ago
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The nation's governors are closing
ranks in opposition to a proposal in Congress that
would let the president take control of the National
Guard in emergencies without consent of governors.
The idea, spurred by the destruction and chaos that
followed Hurricane Katrina's landfall in Louisiana and
Mississippi, is part of a House-passed version of the
National Defense Authorization Act. It has not yet
been agreed to by the Senate.
The measure would remove the currently required
consent of governors for the federalization of the
Guard, which is shared between the individual states
and the federal government.
"Federalization just for the sake of federalization
makes no sense," said Gov. Kathleen Blanco of
Louisiana, a Democrat who had rough relations with the
Bush administration after the disaster last year. "You
don't need federalization to get federal troops. ...
Just making quick decisions can make things happen."
Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a Republican,
said "a whole bunch of governors" were opposed to the
idea after the proposed change was brought up in a
private lunch meeting.
Some two dozen governors met in Charleston for three
days of discussions at the annual summer gathering of
the National Governors Association. The association's
leaders sent a formal letter of opposition to House
leaders last week.
The language in the House measure would let the
president take control in case of "a serious natural
or manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe,"
according to the NGA.
"The idea of federalizing yet another function of
government in America is a, the wrong direction, and
b, counterproductive," Sanford said. "The system has
worked quite well, notwithstanding what went wrong