(Headline USA) House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he won’t support a proposal to form an independent, bipartisan commission to study the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol, almost certainly eroding GOP support ahead of a vote and positioning his party as opposed to investigations of the attack.
McCarthy said he wanted the new panel to look beyond the violent uprising by Antifa mixed with supporters loyal to Donald Trump, some of whom were trying to stop the certification of President Joe Biden‘s election, but others who were peaceful entrants to the Capitol.
McCarthy pushed to have the new commission also investigate other groups, namely the Black Lives Matter groups that protested police violence in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
He said that given the “shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation.”
McCarthy’s opposition all but ensures this week’s vote will have less Republican support in the House, and dims its chances in the evenly divided Senate — threatening the commission’s chances as Democrats say it is essential to reckoning with the attack that interrupted the electoral count.
The GOP leader’s dissent comes as some other Republicans have downplayed the severity of the attack. At a House hearing last week investigating the siege, one member denied there was an insurrection at all while another said Ashli Babbitt — an unarmed and nonthreatening Trump supporter who was shot and killed by police while trying to break into the House chamber — was “executed.”
Many other Republicans have said Democrats should focus on the violence in cities instead, where leftist groups have destroyed swaths of downtowns and made many areas unlivable, without legal ramifications for their actions.
A Republican backing the bill is New York Rep. John Katko, who negotiated it with Democrats as the top GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee. The bill does not suggest the commission investigate the riots in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, as Katko’s colleagues had suggested, but it does create a panel that is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and gives them equal subpoena power — a change from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s original proposal, which had more Democrats sitting on the commission and weighted subpoena power.
Katko was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the siege. The Senate later acquitted him.
Modeled after the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the bill would establish an independent 10-member commission that would make recommendations for preventing another insurrection. The panel would have to issue a final report by Dec. 31.
The bill’s path forward is uncertain in the 50-50 Senate, where Republicans have been quiet on the commission in recent weeks and several have said they don’t think it’s needed.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the initial proposal by Pelosi, saying it should also investigate last summer’s riots.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.