On May 28, Republican senators blocked a bill creating a commission to investigate the Capitol breach that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021. With a 54 to 35 vote, the bill failed to reach the 60 vote threshold required to overcome a filibuster. Except for six Republicans, all other GOP senators voted against the bill.
The six outlying Republican senators were Bill Cassidy, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Ben Sasse. Except for Portman, the remaining five senators had previously voted in favor of convicting former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial.
The proposed commission, modeled after the 9/11 commission, was set to have 10 commissioners, with five each from the Democrats and Republicans. The commission chair would have been appointed by Democrat leaders, while Republican leaders would have appointed a vice chair.
The commissioners would have been tasked with filing their final report by the end of the year, with the commission disbanding 60 days later. In a May 18 statement, Donald Trump said that the House and Senate Republicans should not approve of a Jan. 6 commission, which he called a “Democrat trap.”
“Unless the murders, riots, and fire bombings in Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, and New York are also going to be studied, this discussion should be ended immediately. Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left,” he said in the statement.
The Democrat-led House passed the bill on May 19 with a 252 to 175 vote. A total of 35 Republicans supported the bill, including 10 GOP members who voted against Trump in his second impeachment trial.
In an interview with CNN, Republican John Kasich, the former Governor of Ohio, said that 35 House Republicans voting for the bill was a “big deal” as “these are people that stood against the leadership.”
“They stood against McCarthy, they stood against McConnell in a way, they stood against Trump, it’s a very, very big deal… For 35 of them to march out there. I’ll tell you what happens next. Some members tomorrow, their staff will say, why didn’t you vote for this?” he said.
A day before the May 28 vote, Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell had asked his caucus not to support the legislation. In his speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said that several investigations into the Jan. 6 incident were already underway, including one by the Department of Justice (DoJ), which has led to over 400 arrests.
“I do not believe the extraneous ‘commission’ that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing. Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to,” he said. In a letter sent to Democrats shortly after the Senate vote, Senate Majority Leader Democrat Charles Schumer stated that the bill could return in the future, according to The Hill.
“Senators should rest assured that the events of January 6th will be investigated and that as Majority Leader, I reserve the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time,” Schumer wrote.
During his speech on the Senate floor, Schumer accused Republicans of being in “fear or fealty to Donald Trump” and that the former president’s “big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party.”
In an interview on American Thought Leaders, Republican Representative Jody Hice said that he had “zero confidence” that the intent of the proposed Jan. 6 commission was to find out what happened on that day.
“What this is going to turn into is a witch hunt to go after Trump and Trump supporters and conservatives as a whole—I believe, at least—and the attempt ultimately is going to try to label all of us who are conservatives as potential domestic terrorists and insurrectionists and whatever else,” he said.
A double standard
In a write-up from The Washington Post on Jan. 14, Marc A. Thiessen, the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, highlighted the double standard of the Democratic Party. He said that even though conservatives condemned the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Democrats embraced the left-wing mob that attacked the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison a decade ago.
In March 2011, left-wing protestors attempted to stop a vote on collective bargaining reform legislation at the Capitol building in Madison. “Thousands of protesters rushed to the state Capitol Wednesday night, forcing their way through doors, crawling through windows and jamming corridors,” stated a Mar. 10, 2011 report published by the Wisconsin State Journal.
On the same day, Democrat Nancy Pelosi had tweeted that she would continue to “stand in solidarity with #wiunion.” In an interview with MSNBC after the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, Pelosi accused Trump of “inciting that insurrection that caused those deaths and this destruction,” even though the former President did not ask followers to storm the Capitol and was acquitted in his second impeachment trial.