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Senate Republicans block bill to establish commission to investigate January 6th attack
Do you support or oppose a commission to investigate the January 6th attack?
By Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- Senate Republicans voted Friday morning to block initial debate and potential amendment votes on legislation to form an independent commission that would investigate the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
- The procedural vote failed 54-35, six votes short of the 60 vote threshold needed to overcome the legislative filibuster (the vote was the first successful filibuster of the 117th Congress).
- Six GOP senators voted in favor, including Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) ― all aside from Portman voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the events of January 6th. Eleven senators did not vote.
- Friday's vote was on a "cloture motion on the motion to proceed", which means it was to limit initial debate before potential amendment votes. Had it succeeded, opponents would have had a second opportunity later in its consideration to use a cloture motion (e.g. the legislative filibuster) to block the bill with at least 41 votes.
- The bill passed the House on a 252-175 vote with the support of 35 GOP lawmakers. Most Republicans in both chambers raised concerns that the Democratic appointees to the bipartisan commission would have the power to select all the staffers and that the commission should have an earlier deadline to prevent its work from continuing into 2022.
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced an amendment intended to address those concerns by allowing GOP appointees to select half the commission’s staffers in addition to moving the deadline up from the end of December 2021 to late November 2021.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in floor remarks Thursday that while he has been “clear and unflinching” in his condemnations of the January 6th attack, the commission that would be created by this bill is unnecessary:
“The Dept. of Justice is deep into a massive criminal investigation. 440-plus people have already been arrested. Hundreds have been charged. Even more arrests are said to be planned. And the Attorney General indicates this investigation will remain a focus. Multiple Senate committees are conducting their own bipartisan inquiries. And obviously, the role of the former president has already been litigated exhaustively in the high-profile impeachment trial several months ago. I do not believe the additional, extraneous “commission” that Democatic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing. Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to.”
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in his remarks the commission is needed because “former President Trump unabashedly lied, repeatedly, about the results of the election and fomented an armed rebellion at the United States Capitol” and added:
“The truth of the matters seems to be that Senate Republicans oppose the commission because they fear that it might upset Donald Trump and their party’s midterm messaging. I’m not speculating, that was reported in Politico [Wednesday]: that the Senate leader, Republican leader warned his conference that the January 6th commission could hurt the Republicans politically. Well, too bad. This is too important. For the sake of Americans’ faith in our democracy, there must be a full, thorough, and trusted account of what happened on January the 6th.”
(Photo Credit: Tyler Merbler via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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