Biden Signs Three Bipartisan Bills Providing Support For Police Officers, First Responders

Screenshot YouTube, President Joe Biden Delivers Remarks & Sign 3 Bills Into Law

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden signed three bipartisan bills into law on Thursday that benefit police officers, U.S. federal officers and other first responders.

The bills – the Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021, the Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling (COPS) Act and the Jaime Zapata and Victor Federal Officer and Employees Protection Act – all passed Congress with overwhelming and almost unanimous support. Biden, giving remarks to a crowd of roughly 30-40 people in the White House’s State Dining Room, said the bills “share a goal of helping law enforcement officers and first responders be the protectors and the partners our communities need.”

“When you look at what our communities need, and what our law enforcement is being asked to do, it’s going to require more resources, not fewer resources,” Biden explained. “That’s why my administration is investing in the community policing we know works.”

The Protecting America’s First Responders Act is directed at law enforcement and first responders injured in the line of duty. The law will ensure these individuals are able to receive necessary benefits quickly and it was authored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic New York Se. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

This bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate and opposed by three Republicans – Reps. Chip Roy of Texas, Barry Loudermilk of Georgia and Thomas Massie of Kentucky  – in the House. Biden described this bill as “really important” and detailed how first responders “run toward the danger while others are running away.”

The COPS Act, introduced by Grassley and Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Mastro, offers confidentiality in most cases for federal law enforcement officers wishing to use peer counseling services. Biden highlighted the mental toll individuals can suffer from in dealing with “terrible incidents” and said it’s the nation’s job to “help them recover from the invisible wounds that their work can inflict.”


“My hope is by giving more officers access to confidentiality and high-quality mental health resources, we’re gonna reduce the stigma around seeking help,” Biden said, adding that he hopes offering help will allow for law enforcement officers to “better help the communities they serve.”

This bill passed unanimously in the Senate and was voted down by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan in the House.

The third bill Biden signed – the Jaime Zapata and Victor Federal Officer and Employees Protection Act – was introduced by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and passed through the Senate and House with unanimous support, Fox News reported. This bill allows for individuals who have killed or tried to kill American federal officers serving overseas to be prosecuted in the U.S.

This bill is named in part after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent Jaime Zapata, who was one of two agents attacked by a drug cartel in Mexico in 2011. Zapata died as a result of the attack and Victor Avila, the other ICE special agent, survived.

“This bill’s gonna protect agents serving abroad and send a message to drug cartels, terrorists and criminals, wherever they operate, that if you attack our agents, you will not escape our justice,” the president said on Thursday, noting that the next step is passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

This act was killed by Republican senators in September after passing through the House, and Biden vowed executive action following the move. (RELATED: Biden Called The Floyd Family After The Chauvin Verdict, Here’s What He Said)