House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN “of course” when asked if he would pursue a select committee to investigate what happened on Jan. 6 if the bill to create an independent commission fails in the Senate.
The House is slated to vote on the bill today, but it could face an uphill battle in the Senate as it needs at least 10 Republicans in the chamber to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, like House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, said he is opposed to the commission.
“We are going to pursue this one way or the other,” Hoyer said. “Any attempt to obfuscate, to hide and dissemble will not succeed.”
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn was less forceful in what the path forward would look like if the commission bill fails telling CNN, “I don’t like to go too far. I don’t want to anticipate failure.”
Clyburn did not rule out the prospect however telling CNN, “well, we are prepared to sit down and consider what we ought to do because something has to be done.”
If Senate Republicans ultimately block a bipartisan bill to create an independent commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack, Democrats in the House could establish a select committee to investigate the insurrection.
A select committee of this nature only requires a majority vote of the House to create.
Select committees typically are made up of members of Congress and the majority party would drive the investigation. It would almost certainly have subpoena power as well.
The outside commission is different because it would be comprised of people outside of Congress, with both parties making joint decisions on subpoenas. And there would be 10 commissioners equally divided between the two parties.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled an openness to a select committee in the past if the commission bill were to stall.
“It’s always an option,” she told USA Today in April of a possible select committee. “It’s not my preference in any way. My preference would be to have a commission.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Wednesday changes would have to be made to the House Jan. 6 Commission bill before she could support it. She also would want the commission’s work completed this year and not drag into an election year.
“I support having a 9/11 style commission. There are changes that are needed in the House version. For example, it’s my understanding that the House bill would have the chairman choose all of the staff members and that’s not right, and that’s not the way the 9/11 commission worked. I also think it’s important that this be independent and nonpartisan, and that means that we should make sure that the work is done this year and does not go over into the election year. There’s plenty of time to complete the work. But if those changes are made, and some others, I will support the commission. I think it would it would be valuable in terms of establishing exactly what happened, and for lessons learned,” she said.
Collins blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for creating this impasse because she did not consult in advance with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“If I had been the Speaker, I would have reached out to him and talked to him about how it should have been drafted. I would have reached out to Kevin McCarthy . She did neither. So I think the fact that we’re in this situation now is do to the lack of outreach. Nevertheless, I still think properly drafted commission is a good idea,” Collins said.
The top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee struck a deal last week to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan, 6 attack on the Capitol, breaking a months-long logjam between House leaders about how to structure the independent panel.
House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and the panel’s ranking Republican, Rep. John Katko of New York, announced on Friday they had reached an agreement for the panel that would be modeled after the 9/11 Commission.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday that the House would vote on the legislation creating the commission this week, as well as a $2 billion supplemental funding bill to bolster security at the Capitol. The House vote is expected to happen today.
Here’s what we know about the commission:
- The commission proposed by Thompson and Katko would include a 10-member panel.
- Half of the commission would be appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, including the chair, and half by Republicans, including the vice chair.
- The panel will have the power to issue subpoenas if they are signed off by both the chair and vice chair, according to a summary released by the committee.
- The commission would be tasked with issuing a final report by the end of this year, making it a quick timeline for the panel to put out a final product.
The deal represented a significant bipartisan breakthrough on a proposal that had been stalled for months since Pelosi first proposed a commission to investigate the insurrection at the Capitol in the days after the deadly attack.
The legislation to create the commission is expected to pass through the Democratically controlled House today, but the margins are an important indicator because just how many House Republicans are willing to buck their party leadership may offer an early signal for how many GOP senators could back the bill.
Supporters of the plan will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 6
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