Jan. 6, 2021, will live in infamy as much as any date in American history. Still, even those directly threatened and affected by the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol have taken a stand against creating an independent commission to investigate the deadly attack.
With the U.S. Senate preparing to vote on the House-passed legislation, Republican leaders in the upper chamber have displayed a remarkable unwillingness to back the bill.
“It’s not necessary because strong existing investigations are ongoing [in Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice],” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
While all 50 Democrats in the evenly divided Senate appear ready to vote in favor of a bill creating an independent commission, there’s little evidence that enough Republicans will support the measure. The bill needs at least 10 Republicans to vote yes to reach the 60-vote threshold required for passage.
Thirty-five House Republicans supported the measure which passed that chamber, 252-175.
Democrats say their Republicans live in the shadow of former President Donald Trump whose actions, based on overwhelming evidence, fueled the riot that led to the death of five people including a Capitol Police officer.
The New York Times reported that the Capitol assault resulted in one of the worst days of injuries for law enforcement in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“About 140 officers — 73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington — were injured,” the Times reported.
The newspaper noted that the injuries ranged from bruises and lacerations to more severe damage such as concussions, rib fractures, burns and even a mild heart attack. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died during the attack.
The number of those injured “does not account for the dozens, if not hundreds, of officers who law enforcement officials estimate will suffer in years to come with post-traumatic stress disorder and the dozens who most likely contracted the coronavirus from unmasked Trump supporters who overran the Capitol,” the Times reported, quoting experts and officials.
The U.S. House impeached Trump a second time for his role in the insurrection, while the Senate acquitted him.
“My Senate Republican colleagues must now ask themselves: Are they going to join us in pursuing the truth, or are they going to cover for Donald Trump and his big lie?” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).
The GOP also appears to ignore that there have already been over 150 commissions formed by congressional vote since 1989.
Five Democrats and five Republicans would comprise the currently proposed commission which would enjoy the ability to subpoena testimony about the Jan. 6 insurrection on the agreement of a Democrat chair and a Republican vice chair.
Based on the legislation proposed, the committee would issue a final report of its findings by Dec. 31.
D.C. Democratic Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said lawmakers modeled the bill after bipartisan legislation that created a national commission to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“The country needed the 9/11 bill when foreign enemies attacked us,” Norton wrote in a statement. “This bill, focusing on an attack from within – an insurrection – is just as necessary. The bipartisan commission created by the bill would be above the fray of politics and give clear, unbiased answers on what actually happened on Jan. 6 and how to prevent such attacks in the future.”