politico – “Rather frightening”: failure of January 6 commission exposes Senate wounds

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was also upset that Schumer’s speech did not say anything positive about Collins’ amendment and asked the majority leader to commit to it. Details of the last-minute twist come from a half-dozen senators and assistants with knowledge of today’s vote.

Democrats believed they gave Collins everything she wanted on the commission, and she still failed to break a blockage. Collins and other Republicans came away worried that Schumer would rather crush their party as an obstructionist rather than try to get the three extra votes he needed to reach the required 60. The resulting bitterness was a reminder of the tension that has long built up in the House, as the pro-Trump attack on Capitol Hill divides the two parties over even the most innocuous legislation.

The Senate, where far fewer Republicans contested Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden, has so far avoided the mutual resentment that has settled on the other side of Capitol Hill. And the upper house is still in the process of passing Schumer’s bipartisan China Competitiveness Bill.

Despite this, the scuttled committee vote was a microcosm of congressional unsuccessful efforts to move forward after Jan.6: two senators from opposing parties supported the same goals and briefly referred their frustrations to one against the another because 10 Republicans did not want to participate.

That doesn’t bode well for a Senate that controls much of Biden’s agenda.

“We all take an oath to defend the Constitution against foreign and domestic enemies. And some people take it seriously. The fact that it’s not universal right now is pretty darn scary, ”said Senator Martin Heinrich (DN.M.). “Some of the people who really ignited all the things that led to [Jan. 6], these are not people that I will be able to work with.

The committee’s filibustering precedes an increasingly difficult summer of failed votes and pressure from the left for Democrats to abandon negotiations with Republicans altogether. Schumer plans to introduce a high-priority voting rights bill in June, along with critical gun safety and LGBTQ rights measures.

Schumer’s entanglement with Collins was no surprise in a way: he just spent a year trying to defeat his re-election bid, creating a chasm between two senators who must work together to create bipartisan progress on difficult questions.

Nonetheless, he gave a typically sunny turn to what has been a grueling few weeks, his top priority being to take on China taking about a month and brutal battles ahead on issues that Republicans will no doubt oppose. . A growing part of Schumer’s caucus believes Democrats’ biggest obstacle is the obstruction that forces them to work with Republicans.

“Senate Democrats are doing everything in our power to push through bipartisan legislation when the opportunity arises,” the New York Democrat said on Friday. “But we won’t wait months and months to pass meaningful legislation that works for the American people.”

The failed committee vote and busy Senate agenda are all but guaranteed to reignite debate on whether Democrats should kill the legislative obstruction. While the senses. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Have sworn they will not hit the 60-vote chamber threshold, the series of votes scheduled for June will increase the pressure to do so.

“It affects the way I think about Senate rules,” Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Said of Friday’s vote. “Let it be that [commission] or voting rights or whatever, at the very least people expect us to protect the democracy of the country. If one side is not willing to do it, I am not going, as a member of the majority, to put my hands up and say, “OK, I guess we can’t. ”

No matter what the Senate does on other bills, the committee’s failed vote is likely to cast a veil on the chamber for months, if not years. It is nearly impossible for many senators to overcome the painful hours they spent confined in a secure area of ​​the Capitol after Trump supporters revolted to prevent Congress from counting the Electoral College’s votes.

With that in mind, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Said his party had hoped until the last minute on Friday that nine Republicans would join Collins in moving forward. Rather, the Senate achieved a “heartbreaking” result, Murphy said, reflecting the psychological significance of the commission falling to a filibuster.

“It’s still fresh on the minds of a lot of people and it’s certainly shaping the way people view issues and maybe even certain relationships,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (RS.D. ), who neither supported the commission nor joined its more vocal opponents. “We have to learn from it and grow. But we also need to be able to tackle other issues.

It was not clear that Republicans were completely comfortable making public arguments against the commission. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Was the only senator to repeatedly advocate for the opposition.

Six Senate Republicans voted to advance the bill, which won 35 GOP votes in the House. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) Said he would have supported the legislation with the Collins changes, but was absent due to a family engagement.

Only one of the seven Republicans who voted to condemn Trump, Richard Burr of North Carolina, opposed the commission, arguing it would be onerous and drag out halfway. A GOP counter-argument, voiced by Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, is that the bipartisan commission would be far superior to a Democrat-led select committee that could come any day now.

“If you ask [Louisianans], who do you trust the most: an independent committee or one made up of members of Congress handpicked by the speaker? They don’t trust the speaker, ”Cassidy said of California Democrat Nancy Pelosi. He said the commission’s bill was not a hard vote.

For those who opposed the measure, it was not a hard vote either. McConnell presented such an intense case against the commission that the only person’s vote that appeared to be pending was Senator Portman, who voted to move the bill forward after ensuring Collins’ amendment had Democrat support. .

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), A former acting chairman of the intelligence committee who voted against the commission, said it was not a difficult call for him. Even if Collins’ changes had passed, Rubio added, he “probably wouldn’t” have voted to even start the debate.

“Everyone has to cut the shit. We know exactly what this commission is about. This commission aims to keep this whole issue in the headlines for as long as possible and use it as a weapon to try to subpoena Republicans they want to target, ”Rubio said.

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