Dec 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden signs law allowing Capitol Police chief to call in National Guard

Photo of armed USCP officers standing in uniform while watching over rioters face down on the ground

U.S. Capitol Police officers detain protesters outside of the House chamber on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

President Biden signed a law Wednesday authorizing the Capitol Police chief to directly request assistance from federal agencies in cases of emergency.

Why it matters: The move expedites a process that previously hindered the federal response to the Capitol riot.

Details: In the past, the chief would have to request approval from the Capitol Police Board before seeking out federal agencies. The panel includes the House and Senate sergeants at arms as well as the architect of the Capitol.

  • A bipartisan report from the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees earlier this year urged for reform to this procedure, writing that "none of the members of the Capitol Police Board appeared fully familiar with the process or requirements relating to emergency declarations or requesting external support."
  • "This lack of familiarity with the process delayed requests for National Guard assistance on and before January 6," the report found.
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