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House passes bill transferring control of RFK Stadium site to D.C., enabling possible Commanders redevelopment

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The House overwhelmingly passed legislation allowing the D.C. city government to redevelop the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium as a possible location for the Washington Commanders football team.

The bipartisan legislation, passed 348-55, would permit construction of a stadium and additional housing, while preserving “at least 30 percent” for park lands. It comes as the city is reckoning with the possible loss of two professional sports teams — the Washington Wizards and Capitals — to Virginia in coming years.

“This is a big day for D.C.,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told POLITICO in an interview. “I’m not certain we’ll be able to keep the [Wizards and Capitals] in the city anyways, but this certainly would be important.”

“It’s an all-around excellent bill for the city,” she added.

Rep. Nick Langworthy (R-N.Y.) said on the floor that the effort would succeed in “turning what was once a plight on our nation’s capital into a thriving area of commerce and community.”

Norton expressed confidence the Senate would act on the measure. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is seen as the most likely backer of shepherding it through the upper chamber.

Norton noted the bill “takes a lot of land which was used only for a public stadium and a parking lot and makes it into an all encompassing bill.”

The GOP-led House hasn’t been shy about inserting itself into local D.C. affairs, but the stadium project has been an uncommon point of bipartisanship. Norton worked with House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) to advance the legislation.