Washington, DC – Yesterday, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) and California Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), and 20 cosigners sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III urging him to exercise his authority to grant access to medical care at Walter Reed for law enforcement officers who sustained injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), when defending the Capitol on January 6, 2021:
The Members wrote, “During the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, at least 140 law enforcement officers, including at least 81 U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Officers, were assaulted, and as of June, at least 17 law enforcement officers, including at least 10 USCP officers, have not returned to duty due to injuries sustained on that terrible day. The Chairman of the Capitol Police Union reported that an officer lost the tip of his finger, one officer had two cracked ribs, two shattered spinal discs, and one was stabbed with a metal fence stake. Some have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI), and many more are suffering from emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Four law enforcement officers who responded to the unimaginable events at the Capitol on January 6 have died by suicide and another officer surrendered her weapon, fearing she might use it on herself. In fact, Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told the January 6 Select Committee that his experience protecting the Capitol on January 6 was worse than anything he faced during his Army deployment to Iraq.”
“As you no doubt are aware, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center operates a best-in-class treatment program for TBI. Members of Congress routinely receive care at Walter Reed when necessary, but the Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers injured in the January 6 attacks do not currently have this access. We believe that law enforcement officers who were injured on January 6 should have the option of seeking medical treatment at Walter Reed for injuries sustained in the attack, including TBI.”
“We understand that you have broad authority under 10 U.S.C. § 1074(c) and the regulation-based Secretarial Designee program to allow individuals, who are not otherwise eligible, to access military medical care when it serves a compelling DoD mission interest. We believe there is a clear, compelling interest in these circumstances given that the actions of law enforcement officers on January 6 complemented and supported the deployment of National Guardsmen, as directed by the Secretary of the Army, in defense of the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, and that historically DoD has treated the health care of civilians injured while supporting the operations of military personnel in an official capacity as a compelling DoD mission interest. We request that you use this authority to allow law enforcement officers injured in the line of duty on January 6, 2021—including U.S. Capitol Police and other federal, state, and District of Columbia police—to participate in the Secretarial Designee program for the purposes of receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.”
The letter is cosigned by: Don Bacon (R-NE), Anthony G. Brown (D-MD), Jason Crow (D-CO), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), William R. Keating (D-MA), James R. Langevin (D-RI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Maxine Waters (D-CA).
The complete letter is available here.