President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill to allow the Capitol Police to directly ask the National guard for support after delays during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, NBC News reports.
Congress is investigating the hours-long delay between the Capitol Police and top Congressional leaders pleading for National Guard support during the riot and the National Guard deployment to the Capitol.
The Senate Rules and Homeland Security Committees earlier this year recommended the change after its report found 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."
Under the old rules, the Capitol Police chief needed approval from the Capitol Police Board, a four-member panel that includes the Senate and House sergeants at arms, to request assistance.
The new law allows the chief to directly ask the National Guard and federal law enforcement for help.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said the agency was grateful for the law, “which we fought for.”
The law passed by unanimous consent in both chambers of Congress, meaning not a single lawmaker opposed it.
“January 6th showed us that every minute counts during an emergency,” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement. “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."
“Our bipartisan investigation into the response failures on January 6th 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,” said Missouri Republican Roy Blunt. “I have long been concerned that the structure of the Capitol Police Board creates unnecessary delays when swift, decisive action is needed. 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.”