The House of Representatives passed a bill that would create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. With a vote of 252 to 175, 35 Republicans voted with Democrats in support of the bill.
Rep. Carlos Giminez, a freshman Congressman from Miami, Florida is among the Republicans who voted in favor of the commission. He told CNN:
“The reason that I voted for it is because when I saw the event of January 6th, being the former mayor of Miami-Dade county and former sheriff, I saw a breakdown in communications. I saw a breakdown in coordination and anticipation and I want to get to the bottom of how our security forces allowed a breach of the people’s house, the Capitol.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on the senate floor today that he will not support the formation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. McConnell’s opposition — while not surprising — signals that the bill is unlikely to withstand a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
During his comments today, the Kentucky senator criticized Democrat lawmakers for crafting the proposal “in partisan bad faith.” It’s a curious argument, given that the bill was crafted in bipartisan fashion by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, and the panel’s top-ranking Republican, Rep. John Katko of New York.
Several House Republicans have already said they may approve the commission, although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has encouraged GOP lawmakers to vote against it.
McConnell, echoing McCarthy, suggested that a commission to probe insurrection isn’t necessary.
“It is not at all clear what new facts … yet another commision can lay on top of law enforcement and Congress,” McConnell says— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 19, 2021
The reaction to McConnell’s remarks came swiftly, and much of it was harsh. CNN commentator Keith Boykin tweeted a reminder of how much time Republicans spent investigating Benghazi.
It is plainly obvious why McConnell and the rest of the Republican Congressional leadership opposes the creation of such a commission, and it has nothing to do with concern over Democratic partisanship. It’s about the 2022 midterms. The GOP are worried that a commission investigating the Capitol siege will overshadow their messaging heading into next year’s election.
Senate GOP Whip John Thune essentially told CNN that, saying he and other republicans are worried the findings of the commission could be “weaponized” against Republican candidates.
“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders — not relitigating the 2020 elections. A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward. Anything that gets us rehashing the 2020 elections I think is a day lost on being able to draw a contrast between us the Democrats’ very radical left-wing agenda.”
McConnell’s opposition likely means the bill will die in the senate. It would need 60 votes to pass, and observers doubt McConnell would come out so strongly against the commission unless he was sure the Democrats didn’t have 10 Republican votes. Despite that, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made it clear the bill will be voted on in the Senate.
Schumer spoke before McConnell did, and noted that a vote on the Jan. 6 commission would help the American people see what the Republican Party represents.
Wednesday afternoon, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also made it clear there will be further investigation into January 6th, one way or another.