Legislation To Create Jan. 6 Commission Has Limited Bipartisan Support

Tuesday, May 18th 2021, 4:14 pm
By: News 9

Legislation to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection could come up for a vote Wednesday, but it now appears that it may have very limited bipartisan support.

The bill that would create the commission, H.R. 3233, is the product of intense negotiations between Democratic and Republican leaders in the House Homeland Security Committee. The committee's ranking member, Rep. John Katko, (R) NY-24, gave the bill a ringing endorsement Tuesday during testimony before the House Rules Committee.

"The American people expect Congress to put partisanship aside for the sake of our homeland security," Katko said in his opening remarks on HR 3233. "That is exactly what this bill does."

Katko explained to Rules Committee members that, in the model of the 9-11 Commission, the January 6 Commission would be as non-partisan as possible. It would be made up of ten experts -- five appointed by Democrats, five appointed by Republicans, with equal subpoena power. Their findings would be due by the end of the year.

His assurances weren't enough for Rules Republicans.

"First and foremost, I am concerned about the scope of the commission," said Rep. Tom Cole, (R) OK-4.

Cole, ranking member of the Rules Committee, raised the same issue that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pointed to in a statement he released Tuesday morning explaining his opposition to the bill -- that the Commission needs to look at more than just January 6.

"That event is part of a broader wave of violence that has accompanied the increasing coarsening of politics over the past several years and worsening since the COVID-19 pandemic began," said Cole.

Other members of the Oklahoma delegation share Cole's belief.

"I mean, if we’re looking at January 6, we need to look at what led up to it," said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R) OK-2, Tuesday in an interview.

Mullin said he would not be supporting the bill, believing that it doesn't represent a genuine effort to understand what led to January 6. He and other Republicans believe any investigation must also examine the racial justice protests of the summer of 2020 and other political violence incited by left-leaning groups.

"Until were there, which we are not right now as a country, we still want to point fingers -- until we want to do some self-reflection, then I don’t think the commission is going to do anything except try to divide us more," said Mullin.

Along with Mullin, Congressman Kevin Hern has also decided he will vote no. As of Tuesday afternoon, Representatives Bice, Lucas and Cole were saying they were still reviewing the legislation and hadn’t decided.