House Democrats are pushing with a bipartisan proposal to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill, after reaching a deal with a key Republican to drop his party’s demand to examine violence of the left during the demonstrations for racial justice.
The deal announced Friday between Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Representative John Katko of New York, the panel’s top Republican, could break a partisan blockade that has persisted for months around of the commission.
It was not clear whether Republican leaders would back him after insisting that any investigation into the deadly riot on Capitol Hill by a pro-Trump mob would also look into the violence of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Representative Kevin McCarthy, California Republican and minority leader, said shortly after the announcement that he had not approved the plan and had yet to review the details.
Democratic leaders have said legislation creating the proposed group will likely be put to a vote next week in the House, where they have the votes to pass it even if Republicans en masse oppose it.
At the same time, Democrats plan to move forward with a vote on a bill that would provide $ 1.9 billion to bolster Capitol Hill defenses and police forces, reimburse the National Guard and others. security forces for the protection of the complex following the attack and to cover the related costs. to the coronavirus pandemic.
Republican leaders have yet to approve the spending either, calling it premature.
Negotiations on the creation of a commission of inquiry, modeled on the one that studied the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, had been blocked for months as Republicans and Democrats quarreled over the composition of the commission and its mandate. The announcement of a compromise suggested Democrats were prepared to simply bypass Republicans. This would force GOP lawmakers to make a difficult choice between embracing an investigation into a Donald J. Trump-inspired violent attack, which is likely to anger the former president, and opposing the counting of the attack at the same time. deadliest against the Capitol in centuries.
Rather than outright oppose an investigation, Republican leaders, including Mr McCarthy, have called for an investigation that would also examine violence perpetrated in the summer of 2020, when nationwide protests for racial justice swept across the country. country. This is part of a larger GOP strategy that has emerged in recent months to play down the Capitol Riot and seek to distract from it by pointing to the actions of black activists and trying to assimilate the two.
Katko said in a statement that the commission was “about facts, not partisan politics.”
Mr Katko is among the more moderate House Republicans and was one of 10 in his conference to vote to impeach Mr Trump in January for inciting an insurgency. Her position mirrored that of Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whom Republicans purged from their leadership ranks this week for her vocal repudiation of the former president’s election lies. She said shortly after that her party did not want a close investigation of January 6 because it “threatens people in my party who may have played a role they shouldn’t have played.”
“All members, especially House and Senate leaders, should support this effort and there should be no delay in passing this bill to find out the facts and the truth about what happened.” passed January 6 and the events leading up to it, ”she said. Friday.
The committee’s path may be more difficult through the Senate, where Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to consider it. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also said any committee should broadly review domestic violence throughout 2020. A spokesperson for Mr McConnell declined to comment on Friday.