The top House Republican on Tuesday said he does not support the creation of a new commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol breach in January, saying the new panel could adversely affect ongoing criminal proceedings.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also said funds have already been appropriated to conduct a comprehensive review of the operations of the Capitol Police, who were overwhelmed by the riot on Jan. 6. He also noted that nearly 450 arrests have been made in connection with the day’s events, which means criminal cases are well underway.
“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 in a statement.
Democrats in the House are set to call a vote this week on the creation of a commission to investigate the Capitol riot. On Jan. 6, a pro-Trump mob swarmed the Capitol as lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence were just beginning to tabulate the 2020 Electoral College vote. Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump by a 306-232 vote in the college.
“House Democratic leadership has scheduled votes on two bills stemming from the Capitol attack,” The Hill reported. “The top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee reached an agreement late last week on legislation to establish a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.”
The Homeland Committee on Friday agreed to form a 10-member commission — five Republicans and five Democrats — to probe the events. But House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said that day that he hadn’t yet seen the agreement.
Meanwhile, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who last week was ousted from her No. 3 position in House GOP leadership, said McCarthy should appear before any commission. “He absolutely should and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were subpoenaed,” Cheney told ABC News’s “This Week.”
“I think he very clearly and said publicly that he’s got information about the president’s state of mind that day,” Cheney said.
Below is McCarthy’s full statement:
For months, the Speaker of the House refused to negotiate in good faith on basic parameters that would govern a commission to examine the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. During this time, the Speaker even falsely claimed in the press that she had delivered Republicans a counterproposal, when in reality her proposal would not surface until weeks later. To be clear, Republican requests for fair representation and an unbiased premise from which to begin such an investigation were always understood to be the starting point for bipartisan negotiations, not the end result.
“While the Speaker has wasted time playing political games, numerous Congressional and intergovernmental agency efforts have picked up the slack. There are ongoing bipartisan investigations into all facets of the January 6 events occurring inside the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, as well as the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Additionally, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol has been allocated $10 million to conduct a full, apolitical review into ways to remedy any security vulnerabilities that exist in the Capitol complex.
“Most notably, the Department of Justice has announced 445 arrests in conjunction with the events of January 6, and expect 100 more arrests to follow. The Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate any and all crimes committed that day, and I fully support these individuals being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 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.
“Finally, 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. 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.”