Senate Republicans just blocked a bill that would have created an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that left five people dead and about 140 officers injured.
By a vote of 54 to 35, the Senate failed to advance the commission. At least 10 GOP senators were needed to reach the necessary 60 votes to pass the key procedural vote.
The House-passed legislation aimed to create a 10-person panel to figure out what happened, including the law enforcement's "preparedness and response" and then report recommendations in order "to prevent future acts of targeted violence and domestic terrorism."
The refusal of at least 10 Republican senators to vote for the commission underscores the deeply partisan divide that has emerged over the insurrection earlier this year and comes at a crucial time for Capitol Hill where Democrats are struggling to advance President Biden's agenda.
This is how the commission would have worked if it passed:
- The panel would have attempted to find bipartisan consensus. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate would have evenly split the selection of its 10 members.
- A subpoena would have only be issued to compel witness testimony if it had the support of the majority of members, or if the commission's chairperson, chosen by Democrats, and the vice-chairperson, chosen by Republicans, came to an agreement.
- The commission would have also required to submit to the President and Congress a final report by the end of 2021 and dissolve 60 days thereafter — about nine months before the 2022 elections.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has strongly suggested 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. Last week, the House passed the bill 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats.