Senate Republicans on Friday blocked bipartisan legislation that would have set up an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, testing Democratic resistance on their support for filibuster.
The vote against opening debate on the bill came even after the family of a Capitol Hill police officer who died a day after the attack urged Republican senators to support a commission.
It was also the second time since the violent insurgency in the nation’s capital that Republicans in Congress had shielded the former president from responsibility for events earlier this year.
“If we can’t accept an independent commission to investigate the first armed insurgency on Capitol Hill in our nation’s history, then something is wrong. And that something is filibuster, ”said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The vote count was 54 to 35, but the bill needed 60 votes to continue debate due to obstruction rules. Only six Republican senators joined Democrats in supporting the move forward: Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, Mitt Romney from Utah, Susan Collins from Maine, Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, Ben Sasse from Nebraska and Rob Portman from Ohio.
Several senators did not even vote, likely because they had left town for Memorial Day weekend.
Ahead of the vote, many Republicans insisted a commission was not needed, although questions remain about the attack.
“The role of the former president has already been extensively pleaded in the high-profile impeachment trial several months ago,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Who voted for acquit Trump in this trial, before the vote. “I don’t believe the extra and superfluous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing. Frankly, I don’t believe it’s even designed for. “
Congress regularly establishes advisory commissions following disasters or to make recommendations on difficult political issues. A Capitol Hill riot commission could offer an authoritative account of the day and answer lingering questions, including those about the ex-president’s fate and why the National Guard failed to show up for hours.
But any new information a committee uncovers about the January 6 riot would likely be embarrassing for a party that still actively relies on Trump and his supporters to regain control of Congress in this year’s midterm election. next. Republican voters still overwhelmingly support Trump and his policies despite what happened on January 6; most believe he did nothing wrong.
Republicans also argue that congressional committees and the Justice Department are already investigating what happened, but the same was true before Congress created a commission to investigate the terrorist attacks. of September 11, 2001. The bipartite legislation which the Republicans obstructed Thursday had been modeled on the bill establishing the commission on September 11.
“It’s different in the sense of the scale of what happened and the loss of life and the fact that it was initiated from afar,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) Said Thursday. when asked if he believed the 9/11 commission was partisan in nature.
An amendment Collins proposed to address the concerns of his GOP colleagues about the staffing of the commission failed to convince the party enough to support the bill. Opponents claimed the commission would end up being partisan even though Democrats conceded nearly every GOP demand when drafting the bill. The panel would have been divided equally between credible experts selected by the two parties, with the same power of subpoena.
“It’s even Steven. You choose one, I choose one, ”said Murkowski, pleading for the creation of an independent commission.
Democrats have warned that without a full record of the events of January 6, it is entirely possible that they will happen again. After all, Republicans across the country are codifying Trump’s electoral fraud in new state laws that restrict voting.
“My concern is that these groups still exist, their grievances are still very real, the president continues to fuel them,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Told HuffPost.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), The first senator to announce that he would oppose the election results on the basis of fraudulent lies and a shaky claim that Pennsylvania Republicans reportedly failed to follow their own state constitution by allowing too many mail-in ballots, – told HuffPost on Thursday that he would be willing to oppose again in 2024 if a Democrat wins.
“It will depend on the circumstances,” he said.
The GOP blockade on the Jan. 6 commission – a measure with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress – will increase pressure on Democrats to turn nuclear and remove Senate obstruction, the requirement long-standing qualified majority institution for legislation.
With items enjoying less bipartisan support on their agendas, like gun control and voting rights protection, it’s only a matter of time before Democrats are faced with systematic obstruction.
But Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), a key part of a state that Trump won in the 2020 election by nearly 40 points, insists he will never vote to kill filibuster – even after the battle for the commission on January 6. . The senator appeared to bristle at the idea after reporters repeatedly asked him about it on Thursday.
“I don’t think I’ll ever change,” Manchin said. “I’m not separating our country, okay? I don’t know what you all don’t understand about this. You ask the same question every day, and it’s wrong.
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