On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in opposing a Democrat bill for a “9/11-style” commission that would investigate the events of Jan. 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building.
McConnell announced his decision from the Floor of the Senate saying, “After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6.”
On Tuesday, McCarthy said he was opposed to such a commission, but at that time, McConnell had said that Senate Republicans were “willing to listen” and “undecided.”
When McConnell was asked what prompted the change, he merely said he had made a decision.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate GOP leader McConnell opposes bill to form Jan. 6 commission, dimming prospects for new probe of insurrection.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 19, 2021
There Are Already Investigations Going On
Former President Trump was quick to issue a statement on the bill, saying, “Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission. … Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left. Hopefully, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are listening!”
Any Congress-backed bills would appear redundant, as the FBI, the Justice Department, and a separate Senate committee are all in the midst of investigations. Of those ongoing investigations, McConnell said,
“There is, has been and there will continue to be no shortage of robust investigations by two separate branches of the federal government.”
“It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.”
Former President Trump makes the exceedingly obvious point that the Jan 6 commission is a partisan political trap being set by opponents of the GOP and says that Republicans must "get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left." pic.twitter.com/N8UDhf89tK
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 19, 2021
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Who’s On Board In The House?
Right now, there are as many as several dozen GOP House members ready to back the bill, but if some major changes are not made to the bill.
One supporter of having a commission, Rep. Mike Rounds (R-SD), stated he could not back the commission bill in its current form.
“We’ve had a chance to hear from House leadership about what they saw in the bill. It doesn’t appear right now that they believe that it is bipartisan in nature, which to me is extremely disappointing. The way that the bill is written right now, I would feel compelled to vote against it.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had initially attempted to create a commission with more Democrat members than Republicans, but has since given in to GOP demands for a bipartisan equal number of commission members.
Pelosi also wanted to put Democrats in charge of selecting staff for the commission, effectively “packing” administrative personnel as well.
In the Senate, Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) also wanted additional reassurances and changes to the bill. Collins wanted assurance that the work of the commission would be finished by the end of this year and not in 2022 which is an election year.
“If those changes are made and some others, I will support the commission. It would be valuable in terms of establishing exactly what happened,” Collins said.
I'm calling on my colleagues to vote against the Jan 6 commission.
This commission is a political power play by the Democrats and is meant to divert attention away from the massive failings of the Biden Administration.
My thoughts below: pic.twitter.com/U97w8qoPEP
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) May 19, 2021
Not Any Clear Cut Agreement Amongst GOP
Even with a vote looming, Republicans in both the House and Senate are not in agreement going forth on the bill. Most of the House members who voted to impeach Donald Trump are supporting the legislation.
Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) both say there is a need to find out what actually happened that day. Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Fred Upton (R-MI) are also on board with the bill.
In the Senate, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), says many GOP Senators are concerned that any commission focusing on Jan. 6 will be politicized during next year’s midterm elections and want to move forward.
Thune added, “I want our midterm message to be about the kinds of issues the American people are dealing with. Anything that gets us rehashing the 2020 election is a day lost on being able to draw a contrast.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that whether McConnell supports the legislation or not, there will be a Senate vote but did not say when.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told @AnnieGrayerCNN “of course” when asked if he would pursue a select House committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack if the bill to create an independent commission fails in the Senate.
“We are going to pursue this one way or the other.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 19, 2021
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