The House passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to set up an independent commission to investigate the January 6 riot in the US Capitol, while GOP leaders opposed its passage.
The plan called for a panel to investigate the attack on lawmakers by a crowd of Trump supporters that killed five people, including a Capitol police officer. Democratic and Republican leaders would each appoint five people to the 10-person commission, which would issue a report upon completion of its investigation. The panel would have the power to summon.
The Democratic House, with the support of the GOP, passed the measure in a 252-175 vote when lawmakers sought more information on what had led to the violent attempt to disrupt the transfer of power to President Joe Biden. Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the House of Representatives, R-Calif., Opposed the plan and his leadership team officially called on Republicans to vote against it. 35 GOP representatives supported the measure, while 175 Republicans voted against.
The bill will have a harder time getting through the Senate. While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Is planning to vote on it, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Announced his opposition on Wednesday. Democrats would only need 10 GOP votes to approve the Senate move, but McConnell's stance is a blow to his prospects.
"It's not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation another commission could actually build on the existing efforts of law enforcement and Congress," McConnell said. "The facts have come out and they will come out."
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Ahead of Wednesday's vote, Schumer said the House's Republican leaders "are giving in to Donald Trump and proving that the Republican Party is still drunk on the big lie."
A crowd of former President Donald Trump's supporters, fueled by his unsubstantiated claims that widespread fraud drove Biden's 2020 election victory, overran the Capitol while lawmakers officially counted the president's victory. The rioters came within moments of reaching members of Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence – who rejected Trump's pressure to use his ceremonial role in the process to reverse the election result and chants of "Hang Mike Pence!"
House Democrats, along with 10 Republicans, indicted Trump for instigating a riot in his final days in office. The Senate acquitted the former president after he left the White House. All 50 members of the Democratic caucus and seven Republicans voted to condemn him.
Trump supporters near the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Shay Horse | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Republican criticism of the commission agreement comes from the fact that much of the party is trying to downplay attempts to disrupt the transfer of power or to compare it to other political violence or property damage. House Republicans in particular have set themselves the goal of curbing criticism of Trump – their party's most popular figure – as they attempt to regain control of the House in next year's midterm elections.
In his statement announcing his rejection of the commission agreement on Tuesday, McCarthy argued that the panel should have a broader scope. He also said he feared this could redouble the investigative efforts of the congressional committees and the Justice Department.
"Given the political misdirections that have undermined this process, given the now dual and potentially counterproductive nature of these efforts, and the short-sighted scope of the speaker who does not examine the interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation," said McCarthy. who voted to protest the counting of Arizona and Pennsylvania certified election results for 2020, said.
House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks on the day the House of Representatives is expected to vote on legislation to provide $ 1.9 trillion new coronavirus relief at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on February 26, 2021.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
Prior to Wednesday's vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Accused Republicans of comparing an armed disruption of power to other violence. He said the GOP appeared to be trying "to get the issue so confused that we lose sight of the January 6 uprising".
Hoyer added that he "knows of no other case that corresponds to the attack on the Capitol during his four decades in Congress."
Republicans' concerns come after a bilateral legislature, Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., And senior member, Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y. brokered the agreement. Katko responded Wednesday to concerns from his party that Democrats might use the panel for political purposes.
"I ask my colleagues to take into account the fact that this commission is built for work, is being depoliticized and getting the results we need," he said.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Has also criticized GOP lawmakers for speaking out against the commission agreement. Commenting on NBC News, she said she saw "cowardice on the part of some Republicans" for not "trying to find the truth."
Before Wednesday's vote, she called the commission, which was vital to understanding the attack on the Capitol.
"This legislation is about something bigger than the Commission, as important as the Commission is. This legislation is about our democracy," Pelosi said.
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