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Republicans Denounce January 6th Commission They Helped Design

Written by Peter Ingle

The Republicans have abandoned support for an independent investigation after House members reached an agreement on a bipartisan bill for a 9/11-style commission into the January 6th insurrection.

After months of negotiations led by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D) and Ranking Member John Katko (R) from the House Homeland Security Committee, the pair announced on May 14th that a deal had been reached concerning the panel.

The Commission would consist of 10 members, five chosen by Democrats (including the chair) and five chosen by Republicans (including the vice chair). It would have the power to issue subpoenas upon approval of both the chair and vice-chair and would be tasked with the responsibility of producing a final report by December 31st, 2021.

By May 17th, the right-wing House Freedom Caucus announced its opposition to the Commission. Donald Trump also issued a statement the next day condemning the bill as a “democrat trap” while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the effort he helped create “duplicative and potentially counterproductive.”

In lockstep with other Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to the bill by calling it a “slanted and unbalanced proposal,” per the New York Times.

While the bipartisan bill that passed the House includes concessions that McCarthy and McConnell asked for, Republican leadership now insists that any January 6th Commission should also encompass investigations into left-wing social justice movements that occurred last summer.

The Republicans are trying to treat the attempted coup of a fair and free election at the Capitol as a similar event to the limited outbreaks of violence following the killing of Geroge Floyd.

Nonetheless, Republicans are working hard to win back the House in 2022 and know that confusing voters about the reality of January 6th works in their favor. With the legislative filibuster still active in the Senate, Democrats will need at least 10 Republican votes to sign the bill into law.

At this point getting the bill passed seems unlikely, yet Democrats will certainly continue committee investigations into the insurrection. While it is unfortunate that a bipartisan bill into an insurrection in which members of both Houses were present could not garner enough support to pass the Senate, Democratic leadership has assured that the facts will come out.


Peter Ingle is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in History. He has worked in the past as a Finance Intern for North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and for North Carolina Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Anita Earls.

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