Democrats and Republicans in Congress reached an agreement on Friday to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill – but the House GOP leader said he hadn’t not signed the agreement moments after its announcement.
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Said in a press release that he had come to an agreement with the committee’s ranking member, Rep. John Katko, RN.Y., on the creation of a panel on the theme of the September 11 Commission to study “The facts and circumstances of the January 6 attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors which may have provoked the attack on our democracy . “
The proposed 10-person commission will consist of five members, including a chairman, appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., the other five, including a vice president, being appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the statement said.
But moments after Thompson’s announcement, McCarthy said he had not approved the proposal, telling reporters he wasn’t even aware the press release was going to be sent out on Friday morning.
“It’s very disturbing to me,” McCarthy said in response to being told the commission would be limited to the January 6 riot.
“You have to look at what was built before and what happened after, otherwise the commission will not work,” he said. He also accused Pelosi of “playing politics with it for several months.”
McCarthy said Katko told him the scope would be wider.
Legislation to create the commission, titled the National Commission to Investigate the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol complex (HR 3233), will be introduced by Thompson and Katko later on Friday and is expected to be considered in the House. as soon as next week.
The bill states that commissioners have “significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence and cybersecurity,” and officials or employees current government officials are banned from appointment.
The commission will have the power to issue subpoenas to obtain information to complete its investigation, but this will require an agreement between the chairman and vice-chairman or a majority vote of the committee members, according to the report. law Project.
Under the agreement, the commission will be required to issue a final report by the end of the year with findings on the facts and causes of the riot as well as recommendations to prevent future attacks on democratic institutions. from the country.
“There has been a growing consensus that the Jan. 6 attack is of such complexity and national significance that we need an independent commission to investigate,” Thompson said in a statement. “I am happy that after many months of intensive discussions, Ranking MP Katko and I were able to reach a bipartite agreement.”
“Inaction – or just moving on – just isn’t an option,” Thompson added. “The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the United States Capitol.” We owe it to the Capitol Police and all who enter our citadel of democracy to investigate the attack. “
Pelosi, in his own statement, said it was “imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6 with an independent, bipartisan 9/11 commission to examine and report on the facts, the causes and security associated with the terrorist mob. attack. “
The details of the proposed commission have been a thorny question for months among Democratic and Republican leaders.
Pelosi’s original proposal for the commission would have given Democrats seven nominations, while Republicans would have had four. Democrats would also have had the power to issue subpoenas unilaterally.
The current deal, however, more closely resembles a compromise offered by Pelosi last month.
One outstanding issue was the scope of the commission. Pelosi wanted the panel to focus only on January 6 and the extremist groups that participated in the riot, but Republicans insisted on broadening the scope to include political violence from the far left.
The people who attacked the Capitol were supporters of former President Donald Trump and many were members of far-right groups and militias.
A majority of the public supports the creation of an independent commission to examine the attacks, according to a recent poll.
Julie tsirkin contributed.