Legislation implements a recommendation in the joint report of the Rules and Homeland Security Committees on security, planning, and response failures on January 6th
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, announced that their legislation to provide the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief with the authority to request assistance from the District of Columbia National Guard or federal law enforcement agencies in emergencies without prior approval of the Capitol Police Board was signed into law today by President Biden.
The legislation reflects a recommendation of the bipartisan report on the security, planning, and response failures related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol that was released by the Rules and Homeland Security Committees in June.
“January 6th showed us that every minute counts during an emergency,” said Klobuchar. “Our report found that Capitol Police officers and their law enforcement partners were left alone to defend the Capitol and our democracy itself from violent insurrectionists, while the Chief of the Capitol Police was delayed in obtaining approval to request help from the National Guard. Now that this bill has become law, we can rest assured that the Capitol Police Chief has the authority needed to call for reinforcements at the Capitol swiftly in a crisis.”
“Our bipartisan investigation made clear that a major security issue on January 6th was the U.S. Capitol Police Chief’s inability to unilaterally request support from the National Guard or federal law enforcement,” said Blunt. “I have long been concerned that the structure of the U.S. Capitol Police Board creates unnecessary delays when immediate action is needed. This legislation will allow USCP to more quickly bring in additional support in an emergency. I will always be grateful for the heroic actions of USCP officers who defended the Capitol that day. I’m glad to see this bill signed into law as we continue moving forward on the recommendations outlined in our bipartisan report.”
Klobuchar and Blunt were joined in introducing the bill by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
The legislation also strengthens Congressional oversight of the Capitol Police by providing for joint oversight hearings before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the Committee on House Administration with all members of the Capitol Police Board in attendance. The full Capitol Police Board, which consists of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the House Sergeant at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol, and the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police (ex-officio, non-voting), has not appeared together at a bicameral hearing since 1945.