House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already making plans to find a new path to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection, after Republicans in the Senate blocked the legislation to form an independent bipartisan commission.
In her first virtual meeting with her fellow members of the House Democratic Caucus since the Senate vote Friday, Pelosi prepared to initiate a House-led investigation despite the stiff GOP resistance, promising her colleagues she would keeping going until they find the truth.
According to multiple sources on the call, Pelosi outlined possible options to investigate the insurrection after she was asked a question about the next steps from Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. Those options included:
- Giving the Senate a chance for another vote on the legislation to create an independent bipartisan commission.
- Creating a new select committee in the House to do the investigation.
- Allowing the standing committees to continue their existing probes into the January 6 riot.
- Designating one preexisting committee, such as Homeland Security, to take charge of an investigation.
The first option of allowing the Senate to take another crack at passing the legislation is increasingly unlikely. While the vote fell only four votes short of the 10 GOP senators it would have needed to advance – with one absent GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania saying he would have voted yes – the chances of convincing three more Republicans to vote yes as well as all Democratic senators is slim.
In Kentucky on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear Republicans have moved on from the idea of an independent bipartisan commission.
“With regard to what a new commission could find out, I would remind you that this is probably the most comprehensive Justice Department investigation in the history of the country going on right now. Multiple people have been arrested, many will be prosecuted. Nobody is going to get away with anything who was involved in the incident at the Capitol on January 6th,” McConnell said. “I think we will know everything we need to know – we were all witnesses. We were right there when it happened and I simply think the commission is not necessary.”
In addition to the four options that Pelosi proposed, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York suggested that the executive branch could appoint a special counsel to investigate the events of January 6. At this point there is no indication that Attorney General Merrick Garland is interested in taking that step.
Pelosi however did take off the table the possibility the Biden administration could appoint a presidential commission to investigate the insurrection, because that commission would not have subpoena power unless it was empowered by Congress, which is unlikely.
The speaker promised to continue the dialogue with her fellow members before making a final decision.
Both Pelosi and Jeffries said they will reconvene the caucus soon to discuss their options going forward.