Nancy Pelosi Capitol Building

Bipartisan Commission on January 6th “Insurrection” is a Partisan Mess

On Wednesday, the House voted on H.R. 3233 to establish a National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack. Not unlike the majority of bills that moved through the House so far this year, this one also split mainly among party lines. Only thirty-five Republicans sided with the Democrats. Among those Republicans was the ousted GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY).

According to the House Committee on Homeland Security, the January 6th Commission will:

  • “The Commission will be charged with studying the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy.
  • Like the 9/11 Commission, the measure establishes a 10-person bipartisan commission with five commissioners, including the Chair, appointed by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate and five commissioners, including the Vice-Chair, appointed by the Minority Leaders of the House and Senate. 
  • Commissioners must have significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity. Current government officers or employees are prohibited from appointment.
  • Like the 9/11 Commission, the Commission will be granted authority to issue subpoenas to secure information to carry out its investigation but requires agreement between the Chair and the Vice-Chair or a vote by a majority of Commission members.
  • The Commission will be required to issue a final report with findings regarding the facts and causes of the attack, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks on our democratic institutions, by December 31, 2021.”

Both Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-SC) oppose the legislation. McConnell stated on the Senate Floor Wednesday that, “After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th.”

He went on to say that, “from initially offering a laughably partisan starting point to continuing to insist on various other features under the hood that are designed to centralize control over the commission’s process and its conclusion in Democratic hands.”

Clearly, the commission will be heavily biased towards the Democrats and they will find what evidence and findings they want to find. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has already indicated he plans to bring the legislation to the Senate Floor for a vote. To pass the bill, he will need to garner enough Republicans to reach that 60-vote threshold. This is unlikely since Republican leadership has come out against the legislation. We can only hope the Senate decides to focus on more important matters, like the border crisis.

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