House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Thursday that she will form a select committee to investigate the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
The commission is expected to be a largely Democrat-driven endeavor. A bill to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 riot failed last month after Republicans argued that further investigation is unnecessary in light of the FBI’s crackdown on rioters — a crackdown that has, so far, netted more than 400 individuals now charged with crimes ranging from trespass to conspiracy. Republicans also believed the commission would only serve as a political cudgel for Democrats to wield against the GOP and Trump supporters.
The committee will “investigate and report on the facts and the causes of the attack and it will report recommendations for the prevention of any future attack,” Pelosi said at a Thursday press conference, according to Axios.
“The timetable will be as long as it takes,” Pelosi said.
Senate Republicans last month killed a bill that would have established a bipartisan commission to investigate January 6. The bill received support from six Republicans at the time, not enough to break the filibuster and push through the legislation. The bill fell short of the 60-vote threshold in a vote of 54-35.
“The Department of Justice is deep into a massive criminal investigation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the morning of the vote. “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,” he added.
Six Republicans broke with their party to support the Democratic-backed legislation: Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Republicans in the House lead by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also opposed the bill. McCarthy said the push to establish a January 6 commission was a one-sided effort to investigate political violence only when it could be used to attack Republicans.
“Unfortunately, the legislation being considered in the House this week is drafted in such a way that could interfere with and ultimately undermine these ongoing prosecutorial efforts — just one byproduct of a process that circumvents committee markup and is expected to come to the House floor under a closed rule,” McCarthy said.
“The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021,” he added. “The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked. I have communicated this to our Democrat colleagues for months and its omission is deeply concerning.”
“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” he said.
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