Republicans Take Down Democrat Bill to Create Partisan January 6 Commission
Senate GOP blocks effort to create commission to investigate Capitol riot
Senate Republicans have taken down a Democrat bill to create a partisan commission tasked with investigating the January 6 Capital riot.
The move to block the effort marks the first successful legislative filibuster mounted by the GOP minority.
On Friday, the legislation needed 60 votes to overcome a GOP filibuster.
However, Republicans blocked the bill from advancing during a procedural vote of 54 to 35.
Only six Republicans sided with Democrats: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Rob Portman of Ohio.
Despite opposition from President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA), the House already passed legislation on May 19 to form the independent panel with support from 35 Republicans.
McConnell argued there are already enough investigations into the Jan. 6 attack.
"I do not believe the additional, extraneous ‘commission’ that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing," McConnell said Thursday.
"Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to."
The GOP filibuster Friday on the Jan. 6 commission Friday means the legislation is likely dead for now.
But its failure will be sure to intensify pressure on Democrats to abolish the legislative filibuster altogether and just require a simple majority vote to advance future legislation.
On Jan. 6, hundreds stormed the Capitol seeking to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Biden's Electoral College win.
They violently overtook police officers, destroyed Capitol property, and called for the killing of then-Vice President Mike Pence.
The mob briefly stopped the certification process in Congress as lawmakers had to evacuate the chambers and take cover.
In the end, 140 police officers were injured and five people died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered a stroke after the attack.
More than 400 people have been charged criminally in the Jan. 6 riot.
Sicknick's mother, Gladys Sicknick, visited GOP senators Thursday to personally urge them to support an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the origins of the attack, saying, "I just couldn't stay quiet anymore."
But politics were strong at play, as Trump still has a big grip on the GOP and Republicans believe moving past the attack is important to their chances of winning the 2022 midterm elections.
"I want our midterm message to be ... jobs and wages and the economy and national security and safe streets ... and not relitigating the 2020 election," Sen. John Thune (R-SD) previously told The Hill of concerns on how the commission could undercut the GOP midterm messaging.
"Anything that gets us rehashing the 2020 election, I think, is a day lost."
Prior to the vote, Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) implored his GOP colleagues to back the bipartisan panel and to stop supporting Trump's "big lie" that he actually won the 2020 election.
"Are you afraid that Donald Trump's big lie will be dispelled?" Schumer asked his GOP colleagues of their opposition to the commission.
"This is about the future of our democracy.
"The big lie has eroded that democracy, and we must do everything we can to rebut it."
President Trump released a statement on May 18 opposing the Democrats’ “trap,” telling House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and McConnell to “stop being used by the Radical Left.”
Trump says he’d only support talks of a Jan. 6 commission if the summer BLM and Antifa riots were included in said commission. pic.twitter.com/83piKJPhvT— Anthony Leonardi (@TonyDLeonardi) May 19, 2021
Under the proposal passed by the House, the Jan. 6 panel would be a 10-person bipartisan commission.
Half of the commissioners would be appointed by Democrats and the other half would be appointed by Republicans.
The commission would have subpoena power to carry out the investigation, but there must be a bipartisan agreement on issuing the subpoenas.
The commission would have to issue a final report by Dec. 31, 2021.