House passes a bill to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection

  • The House voted Wednesday to create a commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack.
  • The bill to form the bipartisan commission passed 252-175, with 35 Republican votes in favor.
  • Republican leaders in both the House and Senate publicly oppose the bill. 
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The House approved a bill to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol.

The measure passed by a vote of 252-175, with 35 Republicans voting in favor of the bill despite an active effort from House GOP leadership to marshal opposition. 

The bill to form the commission, H.R. 3233, came out of a bipartisan deal with Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and ranking member Rep. John Katko, a Republican. 

In Wednesday debate on the House floor, Katko called on his colleagues “to put down their swords for once, just for once,” and vote for the commission to cut through partisan politics and get to the facts. 

Like the 9/11 Commission, the 10-member January 6 commission would have the ability to issue subpoenas for relevant information on the insurrection. The group is tasked with producing a final report by December 31 with “findings regarding the facts and causes of the attack” and solutions to prevent attacks on the Capitol and other “democratic institutions.”

Five members, including the commissioner’s chair, would be chosen by Democratic leaders of the House and the Senate, and the other five, including the vice chair, would be selected by their Republican counterparts.

The commissioners cannot be current government employees and “must have significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity” under the parameters of the bill. 

Another House Republican, Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, said on the House floor that “there has been an active effort to whitewash” the “horrible events” of the day.

“If we avoid confronting what happened here a few short months ago, we can ensure that intimidation, coercion, and violence will become a defining feature of our politics,” he said.

The bill was also endorsed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy publicly opposes the bill, citing its narrow scope on the insurrection itself that “does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America.”

House Republican leadership on Tuesday night formally began pressuring members to vote against it, Punchbowl News reported. The bill goes next to the US Senate, where it would need 10 Republican votes to overcome the filibuster to pass. 

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would “oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal” to create the commission. 

While the debate was ongoing in the US House, members of the US Capitol Police — but not the organization as a whole — released a statement conveying their “profound disappointment” with McCarthy and McConnell, citing the trauma that officers still face from that day.

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