Protesters at the U.S. Capitol did not harm anyone, despite the drumbeat lie from the corporate media that supporters of Donald Trump waged an “insurrection.”
An unidentified police officer shot Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force Veteran, in what was ruled a “homicide.” Four other people at the protest died from health conditions, not violence.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he is “pushing the pause button,” on the legislation to form the commission, which is expected to pass the House this week despite the opposition of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy opposes the bill because it focuses on a single non-violent conservative protest and ignores the Democrat-inspired violence sweeping the nation.
“The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021,” McCarthy said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked,” he said. “I have communicated this to our Democrat colleagues for months and its omission is deeply concerning.”
McConnell’s opposition means the bill is likely to have a more difficult path when it reaches the Senate, where majority Democrats will need at least 10 GOP votes to pass it.
He told reporters that his caucus is “undecided” but willing to listen to the arguments about “whether such a commission is needed.”
He questioned whether the panel’s work would interfere with the hundreds of criminal cases stemming from the Jan. 6 attack and whether the “fine print” of the bill would ensure that both parties on the commission have an equal say.
He also questioned a separate, $1.9 billion spending bill that the House is expected to pass this week for security upgrades.
“We’re not sure what to spend the money on yet,” McConnell said.
McCarthy’s opposition and McConnell’s hesitancy will almost certainly mean fewer Republicans will support the commission in both chambers.
Most in the party are still loath to upset former President Donald Trump, who had encouraged his supporters to head to Capitol Hill that day to peacefully protest and make their voices heard.
Trump released a statement Tuesday night urging Republicans against approving what he called a “Democrat trap.”
The commission will also expose divisions in the party, as some Republicans have said they think an independent review is necessary.
In private GOP caucus meetings across the Capitol on Tuesday, members argued for and against the idea.
The Republican who negotiated the bill with Democrats, New York Rep. John Katko, argued in favor.
“I recognize there are differing views on this issue, which is an inherent part of the legislative process and not something I take personally,” Katko said in a statement.
“However, as the Republican Leader of the Homeland Security Committee, I feel a deep obligation to get the answers U.S. Capitol Police and Americans deserve and ensure an attack on the heart of our democracy never happens again.”
McConnell said his caucus had “a good discussion” in their closed-door lunch.
Some Republicans, such as Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, recommended that his colleagues oppose the commission.
Blunt, the top Republican on the Senate Rules Committee, is working on a bipartisan report with his Democratic colleagues that will include some recommendations for security upgrades.
He said an independent investigation would take too long and “frankly, I don’t think there are that many gaps to be filled in on what happened on January 6th, as it relates to building security.”
Other Senate Republicans have signaled support for the commission.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said earlier Tuesday that given the mostly peaceful protest, “we should understand what mistakes were made and how we could prevent them from happening again.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.