(CNN)The House voted Wednesday to create a new select committee that will investigate the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol, in a vote falling mostly along party lines that signals the political fight to come over the panel’s examination of the insurrection.
The House voted 222-190 to formally create the select panel. Just two Republicans joined with Democrats to support its formation — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Ahead of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the floor that she was “heartbroken” Congress could not establish a bipartisan commission. Even though the speaker said she was still “hopeful” that a bipartisan commission could happen in the future, Congress had to move forward with the select committee.
“We cannot wait,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “We believe that Congress must in the spirit of bipartisanship and patriotism establish this commission. And it will be conducted with dignity, with patriotism, with respect for the American people, so that they can know the truth.”
Pelosi made the move to establish the committee after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack.
“Our bipartisan, good-faith proposal was met with a filibuster. Now that Senate Republicans have chosen to block the formation of an independent commission, it falls to the House to stay the course and get the answers they deserve,” said House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, who is one of the potential candidates to chair the select committee.
Republicans charged that the select committee envisioned by Democrats was merely a partisan panel that would be used to attack former President Donald Trump. While 35 Republicans voted in favor of the bipartisan commission legislation, nearly all GOP lawmakers opposed the select committee, including most of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January.
“I supported a bipartisan independent commission. This is the opposite,” Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, the Ohio Republican who voted to impeach Trump and was the target of the former President’s rally over the weekend, told CNN before the vote.
Now the question falls to how House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will approach the new committee. The California Republican has declined to answer questions this week about who he might appoint to the committee — such as those who voted to overturn the election or have downplayed the violence on January 6 — or whether he will appoint Republicans at all.
After the vote, McCarthy still refused to say if he will cooperate and offer up members to serve on the committee, telling CNN, “It seems pretty political to me.” He did not respond when CNN asked if that meant he would not appoint anyone.
Under the House’s resolution, Pelosi will appoint eight members to the commission and McCarthy has five slots “in consultation” with Pelosi — meaning the House speaker could veto his selections.
Asked Tuesday if she would consider vetoing McCarthy’s selections if they had voted to overturn Biden’s win, Pelosi said, “We’ll see. We’ll see who they nominate.”
If she does appoint a Republican, it’s likely to be either Cheney or Kinzinger.
Cheney continued to be mum about any conversations she may have had about serving on the select committee, telling CNN, “It’s all up to the speaker.” A source familiar with the matter said the Wyoming Republican hasn’t spoken to Pelosi yet about serving on the committee.
“If I’m asked to serve on it, I’m going to consider it. I haven’t been asked,” Kinzinger told a local TV station Wednesday. “It’s not necessarily anything I look forward to doing, but if I thought my voice was needed to get to the bottom of it, it would be something I would be open to.”
Pelosi would not say if she has decided to appoint a Republican to the select committee when speaking at a news conference ahead of the vote.
“I will be making whatever statement I make about the s
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