Biden Signs Bill Letting Capitol Police Chief Call In National Guard

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will allow the U.S. Capitol Police chief to unilaterally call in the National Guard for assistance, after a review of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack found the lack of authority was a key factor in the Capitol Police force being overwhelmed by a Trump-supporting mob.

The bipartisan bill, called the “Capitol Police Emergency Assistance Act,” passed both the House and Senate by unanimous consent, meaning no member of Congress voiced opposition.

Under existing policy, the Capitol Police chief was required to seek approval from a four-member board that oversees the police force to get National Guard assistance.

A June report on the January 6 attack found security failures “clearly demonstrated the need for the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police to have more unilateral flexibility to quickly request assistance in an emergency.”

More than 100 police officers were injured in the line of duty on January 6, while 42-year-old Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died from strokes after clashing with protesters, and four other officers committed suicide.

“I have long been concerned that the structure of the Capitol Police Board creates unnecessary delays when swift, decisive action is needed,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill addresses a major security challenge that was evident on January 6th, and is part of our ongoing effort to strengthen Capitol security moving forward.”

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