The police chief in charge of the US parliament in Washington may directly call on troops from the National Guard in emergency situations.
Congress has passed legislation that makes that possible, reports The Washington Post. This avoids unnecessary delays if help is needed quickly.
There was much discussion about parliament’s security after the riots of 6 January. Then supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. Rioters tried unsuccessfully to prevent Democrat Joe Biden from winning the presidential election. Trump had maintained without proof that he had lost it through fraud.
One of the senators who wanted to give police more powers, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, said the riots showed that “every minute counts” in an emergency. “The Capitol Police officers and their colleagues from other services were on their own when the Capitol and our democracy had to be defended against violent insurgents.”
The storming of the Capitol killed several people and injured about 140 police officers. The proposal now passed states that the chief of Capitol Police can “unilaterally” call on the National Guard and national police forces. According to the newspaper, permission no longer needs to be sought from a supervisory body, the Capitol Police Board. President Biden has yet to approve the proposal.