On Friday, Senate Republicans successfully blocked the effort to open debate on the creation of a commission to investigate the January 6 riots in Washington, D.C., marking the GOP’s first successful legislative filibuster of the Biden presidency. According to initial reports, the final vote was 54 to 35.
The six Republicans who voted in favor of the commission were Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Ben Sasse (R-NE).
According to Axios, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responded, “I am sorry if an independent commission to study an attack on our democracy isn’t a Republican ad-makers idea of a good time.”
“This is too important,” Schumer added.
Before the vote, Schumer asked Republican senators, “What are you afraid of, the truth? Are you afraid that Donald Trump’s Big Lie will be dispelled?”
“The Department of Justice is deep into a massive criminal investigation,” responded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I do not believe the additional, extraneous ‘commission’ that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing. Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to.”
“That’s why the Speaker’s first draft began with a laughably rigged and partisan starting point, and why the current language would still lock in significant unfairness under the hood,” McConnell added.
The House of Representatives voted 252-175 on Wednesday to pass this bill, with 35 House Republicans voting in favor.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy mirrored Sen. McConnell’s argument, saying such a commission would be “duplicative and potentially counterproductive” given the investigations already ongoing. One of the House Republicans to vote in favor of the January 6 Commission was Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who has been at the center of various fractures within the Republican Party in recent months.
According to Manu Raju, CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent, House Democrats are now “considering opening a Dem-led probe into the attack.”
#BREAKING: 54-35, Senate Republicans block effort to open debate on bill to create an outside commission to probe Jan. 6 attack. The vote marks their first successful legislative filibuster this Congress. House Dems are now considering opening a Dem-led probe into the attack
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 28, 2021
According to NBC News, “Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, told reporters last week that some of his colleagues had concerns that the proposed commission’s work could be ‘weaponized’ against them in next year’s midterm elections.”
“It’s got such a heavy political overtone to it,” added Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV) criticized the Senate Minority Leader for complicating “any change we have to be bipartisan.”
“Mitch McConnell makes it extremely difficult,” Manchin said. “Mitch is, I like to think, a person who understands this institution as well if not better than anyone. He’s making it so difficult on something as soon as this commission. The commission is something this country needs.”
“There’s no excuse. It’s just pure raw politics. And that’s just so, so disheartening. It really, really is disheartening,” he continued. “I never thought I’d see it up close and personal that politics could trump our country. And I’m going to fight to save this country.”