Loading...

With Bipartisan Support, House Backs Jan. 6 Commission

May 20, 2021 by Dan McCue
With Bipartisan Support, House Backs Jan. 6 Commission
Rep. Benny Thompson, D-Miss., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2021, about legislation to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol Complex. Thompson is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and negotiated the bipartisan legislation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON – The House voted 252-175 Wednesday, with 35 Republicans voting with Democrats, to create an independent commission to look into events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Throughout the afternoon on Wednesday, Democrats argued the independent investigation is necessary to truly get to the bottom of what happened the day a violent mob of Trump supporters laid siege to the Capitol in a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The inquiry is modeled on the investigation that occured after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the legislation, which is now headed for an uncertain future in the Senate, would establish an independent, 10-member commission charged with making recommendations by the end of the year for better securing the Capitol.

In voting with the Democrats, the 35 Republicans appeared to openly defy House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and former President Donald Trump, who had actively been campaigning against the measure.

Shortly before the vote, Trump released a statement via email, calling the legislation and the commission it would create, a “Democratic trap.”

Republicans loyal to Trump called the whole thing a “smear” campaign.

But it is now obvious, several GOP lawmakers disagreed with this assessment.

“This is about facts — it’s not partisan politics,” said New York Rep. John Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee who negotiated the legislation with Democrats. He said “The American people and the Capitol Police deserve answers, and action as soon as possible to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said that Jan. 6 “is going to haunt this institution for a long, long time” and that a commission is necessary to find the truth about what happened. He recalled that he “heard the shouts, saw the flash-bangs, smelled the gas on that sorry day.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called McCarthy’s opposition to the commission “cowardice.” She released a February letter from the GOP leader in which he asked for an even split of Democrats and Republicans on the commission, equal subpoena power and no predetermined findings or conclusions. The bipartisan legislation accommodates all three of those requests, she said.

“Leader McCarthy won’t take yes for an answer,” she said. 

Other Democrats were equally critical of their Republican colleagues.

“We have people scaling the Capitol, hitting the Capitol Police with lead pipes across the head, and we can’t get bipartisanship? What else has to happen in this country?” shouted Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, on the floor just before the vote. He said the GOP opposition is “a slap in the face to every rank and file cop in the United States.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is now trying to prevent similar defections in his own ranks, echoing McCarthy’s opposition in a Senate floor speech Wednesday morning. 

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, both Republicans, have already said they would support the establishment of some kind of commission.

But  South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the number two Republican in the Senate, spoke for many of his colleagues on the GOP side of the aisle when he said he feared the investigation would be “weaponized politically” in the 2022 election cycle.

“I want our midterm message to be about the kinds of issues that the American people are dealing with. It’s jobs and wages and the economy, national security, safe streets, strong borders and those types of issues, and not relitigating the 2020 election,” Thune said.

Immediately after the House vote, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., chair of the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrat’s Task Force on National Security, called the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol a politically motivated attempt to prevent the certification of the results of a free and fair election.

“The cornerstone of American democracy,” she said.

“Police officers risked their lives, suffering severe and even deadly consequences to fend off violent and armed insurrectionists and protect our democracy. To better protect our country and secure our democracy, we must get a full accounting of what occurred on January 6 and what led up to the insurrection, taking the same bipartisan approach we did when Congress established the 9/11 Commission,” she said.

“Thankfully, the House just passed bipartisan, commonsense legislation that would establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6 domestic terrorist attack on the United States Capitol and recommend changes to further protect the Capitol. It is deeply concerning and disappointing that Republican leadership actively worked against House passage of a measured bipartisan solution that would simply allow Congress to gather the facts necessary to protect our nation, and it underscores the need for cooler heads to prevail,” Sherrill concluded.

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

June 24, 2022
by Dan McCue
Hoyer Leads Charge to Bolster American Competitiveness

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Thursday urged House and Senate conferees currently working on a bipartisan... Read More

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Thursday urged House and Senate conferees currently working on a bipartisan innovation bill to complete their work soon so that the House can vote on it before the August recess. Originally called the Endless Frontier Act, the... Read More

June 24, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Justice Dept. Suspects Trump Supporter of Influencing Jan. 6 Riot Prosecutions

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to investigate whether former Trump attorney Sidney Powell is contributing... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to investigate whether former Trump attorney Sidney Powell is contributing funds to the legal defense of the right ring extremist Oath Keepers accused of raiding the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The Justice Department says... Read More

June 24, 2022
by Dan McCue
House Passes Bipartisan Gun Legislation, Sending It to Biden

WASHINGTON — The House gave its approval on Friday to a bipartisan compromise intended to stop dangerous and mentally ill... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House gave its approval on Friday to a bipartisan compromise intended to stop dangerous and mentally ill people from getting their hands on firearms, ending a three-decade stalemate over how to deal with mass shootings and other deadly firearm-related incidents. The 234-193 vote,... Read More

June 23, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Seeks to Update Its Computer Systems

WASHINGTON — Congress is trying to catch up to the computerized automation that is running many American businesses but only... Read More

WASHINGTON — Congress is trying to catch up to the computerized automation that is running many American businesses but only now is filtering into more conservative government offices. A House committee held a hearing Thursday to determine how to bring greater efficiencies into government operations through... Read More

June 23, 2022
by Reece Nations
Future of Title IX Becomes Clearer on Its Anniversary

WASHINGTON — As Title IX turns 50 this week, experts weigh in to discuss how its recent history could hint... Read More

WASHINGTON — As Title IX turns 50 this week, experts weigh in to discuss how its recent history could hint at what’s still to come for the landmark educational sexual discrimination law. When Title IX was being formulated in Congress, the lawmakers that conceived it couldn’t... Read More

June 22, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Washington Commanders’ Owner Accused of Covering Up Toxic Workplace

WASHINGTON — New revelations about a toxic work environment on the Washington Commanders football team were revealed during a congressional... Read More

WASHINGTON — New revelations about a toxic work environment on the Washington Commanders football team were revealed during a congressional hearing Wednesday but only after Republicans protested that the hearing never should have been held. A key revelation came from a House Oversight and Reform Committee... Read More

News From The Well