All eyes are on the US Senate and whether 10 Republican lawmakers will buck their leadership to support a bill to establish a commission that would investigate the violent insurrection on Jan. 6 at the US Capitol.
The bill passed the House Wednesday after 35 Republicans broke with their party to vote for it.
CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Dean was live from Capitol Hill. Watch more:
Many Republican senators are making clear to CNN they will vote to prevent debate from even beginning on the Jan. 6 commission, increasing the chances that the Senate will block debate on the bill.
The first test vote could happen next week. If successful, it could be the first successful GOP legislative filibuster this Congress.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who voted to convict former President Trump, told CNN he would vote to block debate on the bill over his concerns that the probe is unneeded.
The legislation will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill.
As it stands now, there are not 10 GOP senators who have signed on to the measure.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the White House was still hopeful that the Senate would pass bipartisan legislation forming a commission to investigate the events surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, telling reporters, “the attack on the Capitol on January 6 was an unprecedented assault on our democracy demands a full and independent investigation into what happened.”
“This is not a political issue in the President’s view, this is a question of how we secure our democracy and the rule of law, so it’s incredibly disappointing to see how many Republicans—how many representatives have opted to turn this into a political issue, instead of doing what’s right for our country and our Constitution, and they still have the opportunity to do the right thing,” Psaki said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that her “overwhelming preference” is for a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, when asked by CNN if she is committed to a select committee if legislation to establish a commission fails in the Senate.
But she expressed openness to the option last month, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN “of course” when asked on Wednesday if he would pursue a select committee to investigate if the bill to create the independent commission fails in the Senate.
Psaki declined to weigh in on the possibility of a select committee Thursday, telling reporters at the White House, despite steep headwinds in the Senate, “Obviously, our hope is that the Senate Republicans do the right thing, put policy partisan politics aside and vote in a way that supports the preservation of our democracy, of our Constitution. They have the opportunity to do that. If they don’t have it, we’ll have a conversation about it.”
Psaki said she would inquire following a letter from Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone regarding the ongoing trauma he and other officers experienced on Jan. 6.
Though he continued to rail against the House-passed legislation to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said for the first time on Thursday he would be willing to testify about his conversations with former President Trump on Jan. 6 if he were compelled to do so.
“Sure, next question,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju when asked if he would cooperate with an investigation by an outside commission.
McCarthy said he was “not at all surprised” that 35 House Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of the bill to establish the commission, despite his own staunch opposition to it. “I thought it would probably be higher,” he added.
The California Republican accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “playing politics” with the commission and reiterated his wishes for a broader scope for a probe.
The bill, which passed in the House yesterday, now faces an uphill battle in the Senate. The legislation will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill. Like McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is opposed to the bill.
CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed reporting to this post.
Former President Trump is chastising the 35 House Republicans who broke party ranks on Wednesday to support the creation of an independent commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
“They just can’t help themselves,” Trump said of the GOP defectors in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Calling Republicans who supported the legislation “weak and ineffective,” Trump charged that Democrats have a much easier time sticking together on votes than his party.
“They don’t have the Romney’s, Little Ben Sasse’s and Cheney’s of the world,”
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