More than three months after Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laid blame for the January 6 insurrection at former President Donald Trump’s feet, Senate Republicans – thanks to pressure from McConnell – blocked a bill that would establish a commission to investigate the US Capitol attack.
For what it’s worth, six Republican senators — Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski and Ben Sasse — voted to advance the bill. But with four more Republicans needed to meet the 60-vote threshold, Senate Democrats were quick to point out that the number of Republicans who voted against the commission marked another sign of the GOP’s shift toward Trump.
“Out of fear or fealty to Donald Trump, the Republican minority just prevented the American people from getting the full truth about January 6,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.
Even West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has sought cooperation with the GOP whenever possible, sounded defeated about the prospect of working with his Republican colleagues. “I’m very disappointed, very frustrated,” Manchin said after the vote. “The politics is Trump, literally and figuratively.”
Friday’s proceedings, which had been delayed because of partisan debate on an unrelated bill aimed at increasing US competitiveness with China, signal a bumpy future for any bipartisan prospects on Capitol Hill.
As the Senate adjourned for the Memorial Day holiday, Schumer told Senate Democrats that the June work period “will be extremely challenging … the next few weeks will be hard and will test our resolve as a Congress and a conference.”
There is a lot on the horizon over the next month, including: policing reform, the behemoth that is President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the sweeping voting rights package known as the For the People Act, or S 1.
The Point: Bipartisanship isn’t dead – but it’s not exactly thriving right now.