EXCLUSIVEFox News reports that President Biden will sign into law three bipartisan pieces of legislation on Thursday to support police officers and the federal government.
The president, on Thursday morning, will sign into law 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.”
Fox News reports that the White House will have the president sign the bills which were passed nearly unanimously and bipartisanly at an official ceremony in the State Dining Room.
The “Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021,” authored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, would better ensure that law enforcement and first responders who are disabled in the line of duty have prompt access to benefits.
Current federal programs provide disability or death benefits as a one-time lump payment. It is adjusted annually to reflect the consumer price index. The benefits could also be granted to survivors spouses or children through monthly education assistance.
The Grassley Gillibrand bill is not. To account for any increases in living costs that might occur over long adjudication periods, the amount of the award should be determined on the date the adjudication was made.
More than 12 Republican and Democratic senators cosponsored the bill.
President Trump will also sign the Confidentiality Opportunities For Peer Support Counseling Act or the COPS Counseling Act. This Act sets the requirements that peer support counseling programs must be offered by law enforcement agencies.
The bill was authored jointly by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Grassley. It would protect federal law enforcement officers using peer counseling services from being identified as criminals, but not admit to any serious bodily harm or threat of it. This bill will encourage agencies that respond to emergencies to use peer counseling services by making best practices available online and a listing of programs to train individuals to be peer support mentors.
On a 424-3 vote, the House approved COPS Act. Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Rashida Talib from Michigan and Cori Bus of Missouri were the three legislators that opposed the legislation.
Biden will simultaneously sign the “Jaime Zapata Federal Officers’ and Employees Protection Bill”, which was led in part by Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, of Delaware. Senators cosponsored the bill. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D.I.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) cosponsored the bill. Grassley voted with his Senate peers in favor of the legislation.
It ensures that those who attempt to or kill U.S. government employees abroad and officers can be tried and brought to trial in America.
This bill was named after U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila who were attacked in San Luis Potosi by Mexican drug cartels on February 15, 2011. Although Special Agent Zapata succumbed to his injuries and his killers were arrested, Grassley’s Office stated that the federal appeals court had dismissed his murder convictions in 2011 because it didn’t have jurisdiction over his crimes against overseas law enforcement.
It would clarify federal officials and overseas employees are protected. U.S. courts could also try the attackers before a U.S. Court of Law.