House passes bill to create Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 3:27 p.m. ET, May 20, 2021
37 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:09 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

Key things to know about the Jan. 6 commission bill passed in the House — and what comes next

From CNN's Annie Grayer

The House voted Wednesday to approve legislation to establish an independent commission to investigate the violent insurrection on Jan. 6 at the US Capitol.

Here are key things to know about the vote:

  • How Republicans voted: The final vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans breaking with their party to support the bill. All 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump voted in support of the commission. The other GOP defections showcased a significant break with Republican leadership in the chamber and Trump, who urged members to vote against the legislation. The vote, which came as some Republicans have tried to downplay the violence that occurred on Jan. 6 and align themselves with Trump's version of reality, was still opposed by most rank-and-file Republicans, after House GOP leaders mobilized against the agreement that had been struck by fellow Republican Rep. John Katko of New York.
  • What the bill would do: The legislation lawmakers voted on would create a 10-person commission, with each party getting an equal number of appointments and subpoena power, a key provision that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy had said he wanted early on in negotiations. The legislation tasks the panel with examining "the facts and circumstances of the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy." The panel would have the power to issue subpoenas if they are signed off by both the chair and vice chair of the commission, according to a summary released on the panel. The commission would also be tasked with issuing a final report by the end of this year, making it a quick timeline for the panel to put out a final product. The top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee struck the deal last week to create the bipartisan commission, breaking a months-long logjam between House leaders about how to structure the independent panel.
  • What comes next: The bill now moves to the Senate where it faces an uncertain fate as GOP resistance is growing.The margins of today's vote are an important indicator because just how many House Republicans are willing to buck their party leadership may offer an early signal for how many GOP senators could back the bill. Supporters of the plan will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he is opposed to the bill but wouldn't tell reporters if he'd actively whip his fellow Republicans against it.

Read more about today's vote here.

CNN's Jeremy Herb and Ryan Nobles contributed reporting to this post. 

7:41 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

Schumer takes step allowing him to bring Jan. 6 bill to the floor as early as next week

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hasn’t said exactly when he will set up the first test vote to open debate on the Jan. 6 commission bill. But tonight, he took a step that will allow him to bring the bill to the floor as early as next week if he wants.

That first vote — which has not been scheduled — would require 60 votes since a Republican is certain to object.

If the Senate doesn’t act next week, it would slip into June after the Memorial Day recess.

7:44 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

These are the 35 Republicans who voted in favor of the Jan. 6 commission bill

From CNN's Kristin Wilson, Annie Grayer and Manu Raju

House TV
House TV

The House approved legislation to create an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.

The final vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the legislation.

Here is a list of the 35 Republicans who voted for the bill:

  1. Rep. Liz Cheney
  2. Rep. Tom Rice
  3. Rep. Dan Newhouse
  4. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez
  5. Rep. Adam Kinzinger
  6. Rep. Fred Upton
  7. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
  8. Rep. Peter Meijer
  9. Rep. John Katko
  10. Rep. David Valadao
  11. Rep. Tom Reed
  12. Rep. Don Bacon
  13. Rep. John Curtis
  14. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick
  15. Rep. Andrew Garbarino
  16. Rep. Tony Gonzales
  17. Rep. Dusty Johnson
  18. Rep. David Joyce
  19. Rep. Chris Smith
  20. Rep. Van Taylor
  21. Rep. Chris Jacobs
  22. Rep. David McKinley
  23. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
  24. Rep. Maria Salazar
  25. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks
  26. Rep. Steve Womack
  27. Rep. Stephanie Bice
  28. Rep. French Hill
  29. Rep. Mike Simpson
  30. Rep. Rodney Davis 
  31. Rep. Blake Moore
  32. Rep. Michael Guest
  33. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth
  34. Rep. Carlos Gimenez
  35. Rep. Cliff Bentz

9:36 a.m. ET, May 20, 2021

Co-sponsor of Jan. 6 commission bill: 35 Republicans who supported proposal "took a principle vote"

Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks during a press conference at the Capitol on May 19, in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks during a press conference at the Capitol on May 19, in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who co-sponsored the Jan. 6 commission bill, said the 35 Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation "took a principal vote."

"They were there, they saw what went on, you can't, in reality, whitewash the events. It was an insurrection, it was a riot, whatever you want to call it. But it was not the orderly operation of the United States Capitol. And so, for those individuals who voted to get to the facts, we met Republicans, at every point to try to make this situation bipartisan," Thompson told CNN after the House voted to pass the legislation.

The Democrat said that when creating the legislation, they accepted what House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy wanted in the proposal because they "just want to get to the facts."

"Congress deserves the facts. Again, we have to protect the United States Capitol — the citadel of democracy in this country — and to see the actions of January 6, it's heartbreaking," Thompson told CNN.

The lawmaker praised Republican Rep. John Katko of New York for working with him to strike a deal to create the commission.

"I thank my ranking member John Katko, for being an honorable person in this process. He took a lot of heat, but he said I support it because it's the right thing to do," Thompson.

Despite the opposition already brewing in the Senate, Thompson said he's optimistic the bill will pass in the chamber. 

"I'm optimistic that it will pass, people said we wouldn't get more than 20 votes in the House from Republicans. We got 35, I'm optimistic on the Senate side," he said. 

"I think Democrats and Republicans owe this country a debt to get to the facts, to make sure that whatever this commission comes up with, we agreed to implement it. The senate, I hope they see it. You know, this is not Democrat or Republican. It's just not, for them to try and make it that, is absolutely wrong," he continued.

7:38 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

GOP lawmaker says he wants the commission to assess the "security breakdowns" on Jan. 6

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Rep. Carlos Gimenez was one of 35 Republicans who voted to approve legislation to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Rep. Carlos Gimenez was one of 35 Republicans who voted to approve legislation to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez said he voted to approve legislation to create an independent commission to investigate the attack on the US Capitol because he saw a "breakdown in communications" on Jan. 6.

"I saw a break down in coordination and anticipation and I want to get to the bottom of how our security forces allowed a breach of the people's house, the Capitol," he told CNN after the vote.

Gimenez was one of 35 Republicans who voted to support the measure, despite calls from party leadership to vote no.

"That's one of the great things about our party and the leader in particular. I have been able to break ranks with my party on a number of issues unlike the Democrats who don't break ranks at all," Gimenez said.

He said he wants the commission to find out what were the "security breakdowns" on Jan. 6 to make sure it never happens again.

"That's what I'm looking for," he said. "I am also very happy that our ranking member was able to do a bipartisan and get some concession from the Democrats. That's why I voted for this."

7:16 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

Republican lawmaker who voted for bill: "Democrats gave us basically what we want"

From CNN's Manu Raju

Rep. Don Bacon speaks during a news conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 19.
Rep. Don Bacon speaks during a news conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 19. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Rep. Don Bacon, a GOP member who voted for the Jan. 6 bill, said he did so because Democrats “basically gave us what we wanted.”

He also said it’s important to get to the bottom of the attack that day while saying that Republicans realize that Democrats want to drag this out to bolster their political fortunes.

Some context: The outcome of Wednesday's vote, demonstrates that while most rank-and-file Republicans fell in line behind leadership to oppose the bill, there is a growing faction that is willing to stand up to their own colleagues, even as some have tried to downplay the violence that occurred on Jan. 6. 

6:59 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

35 Republicans voted to support the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission

From CNN's Matthew Hoye

On a vote of 252 to 175, the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission. 

Thirty-five Republicans voted against the direction of their leadership, which had strongly urged them to vote no on the measure. 

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Democrats would need at least 10 Republican senators to sign on to the legislation. 

7:05 p.m. ET, May 19, 2021

The House just voted to approve a bill to create a Jan. 6 commission. Here are key things to know.

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Ryan Nobles and Annie Grayer

House TV
House TV

The House just voted to approve legislation to create an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The final vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the legislation.

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee struck a deal last week to create the commission, breaking a months-long logjam between House leaders about how to structure the independent panel.

House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and the panel's ranking Republican, Rep. John Katko of New York, announced on Friday they had reached an agreement for the panel that would be modeled after the 9/11 Commission.

Here are key things to know about the commission:

  • The commission proposed by Thompson and Katko would include a 10-member panel.
  • Half of the commission would be appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, including the chair, and half by Republicans, including the vice chair.
  • The panel will have the power to issue subpoenas if they are signed off by both the chair and vice chair, according to a summary released by the committee.
  • The commission would be tasked with issuing a final report by the end of this year, making it a quick timeline for the panel to put out a final product.

The deal represented a significant bipartisan breakthrough on a proposal that had been stalled for months since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first proposed a commission to investigate the insurrection at the Capitol in the days after the deadly attack.

What comes next: Supporters of the plan will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, like House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, said he is opposed to the commission. McConnell wouldn't tell reporters Wednesday if he'd actively whip his fellow Republicans against it.

Pelosi strongly suggested today that she would approve a select committee in the House to investigate what led to the Jan. 6 insurrection if a vote to form the commission fails in the Senate.

Read more about the commission here.

Watch the moment:

3:27 p.m. ET, May 20, 2021

Fact check: Claims that Jan. 6 commission will be staffed by all Democrats are not true

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

In criticizing the bill to establish a Jan. 6 commission, North Carolina Republican Rep. Dan Bishop claimed "what was an image of a bipartisan commission has now become one more partisan attack."

Bishop suggested the commission would be partisan because it would be staffed entirely by Democrats.

"How can you have a bipartisan commission with an all Democrat staff?" Bishop asked. 

Facts First: It's not true that the staff of the commission would all be Democrats. The bill would create a 10-person commission, with each party getting an equal number of appointments and subpoena power.

Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson and Republican Rep. John Katko, who lead the creation of the bill, pushed back on Bishop's claims.

"If you read the bill, you'll understand it is a bipartisan bill," said Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. "The staff will be picked just like the staff was picked for the 9/11 commission."

Katko, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach then-President Trump over the events of Jan. 6, clarified that the commission would hire "as a team."

"Here's what the bill does. It requires consultation between the chair, appointed by the Democrats, and the vice chair, appointed by the Republicans, for any hiring of staff. And further requires that it be in accordance with rules agreed upon by the commission. The commission creates the rules as a team then they then hire as a team," Katko said.