Biden to Sign Bipartisan Bills in Reinforce of Police, Federal Law Enforcement

On Thursday, three pieces of bipartisan legislation are expected to be signed into law by President Biden in support of police officers, federal officials, and the law enforcement community, according to reports.

On Thursday morning, the president will sign S. 1511, the “Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021,” S. 1502, the “Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling Act or the COPS Counseling Act,” and S. 921, the “Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act.”

The bill that has been passed with almost unanimous, bipartisan support, will be signed by the president, at a White House ceremony in the State Dining Room, as confirmed by one of the White House officials.

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Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, author of the “Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021,” and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York who co-sponsored, would make sure that law execution and first responders who are incapable in the line of duty have quick access to benefits.

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Under the present federal plan, a one-time lump sum payment is provided as disability or death benefits, which is adjusted based on the consumer price index yearly. A surviving spouse or children can also be issued those benefits as monthly education assistance.

However, the benefit award amount needs to be based on the date of the settlement as required by the Grassley-Gillibrand bill instead of the date of injury to take into account the increased cost of living, which is possible as a result of long-drawn adjudication periods. 

Over a dozen of Republicans and Democratic senators have co-sponsored that bill. 


Biden to Also Sign “Cops Counseling Act”

Also, the “Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling Act” or the “COPS Counseling Act,” will be signed by the president, which mentions the need for a law enforcement agency for providing peer support counseling programs.

Grassley and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., both of them are the authors of that bill, that pledges to extend seclusion to those federal law enforcement officers who are using peer counseling services, though there are exceptions to this like involvement in criminal conduct or threats of crucial physical injury.

The bill also encourages first responder agencies to the adoption of peer counseling programs by seeking the DOJ for making best practices publicly available on its website also to bring several training programs for individuals so that they can become peer support mentors.

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Cops Act Passed With 424-3 Vote

With a 424-3 vote, the COPS Act was passed in the House last month. Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Cori Bush of Missouri are those three lawmakers who extended votes against the legislation. 

In the meantime, the “Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act,” which was led by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware will also be signed by the president.

The bill was cosponsored by Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Josh Hawley and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., R-Mo. Grassley came up with his Senate colleagues in support of the legislation. 

The bill makes sure that those who have been succumbed to death or attempted to murder U.S. federal officers and staff serving overseas can be delivered justice and indicted in the United States.

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The bill has been formed for the Special Agents of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victor Avila and Jaime Zapata. On February 15, 2011, both of them were assaulted by Mexican drug cartels in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Special Agent Zapata lost his life due to severe injuries but his killers were arrested, last year, Grassley’s office stated that a federal appeals court gave up on the murder standpoint based on the claim that the district court does not hold any authority upon the offenses that have been committed against law enforcement stationed abroad.

The enacted law will give assurance that those federal officers and employees who are serving abroad are secured and that their attackers may be adjudicated by the U.S. courts in a U.S. court of law.


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