Key vote on Capitol riot commission delayed in Senate

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:48 AM ET, Fri May 28, 2021
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11:55 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Mother of fallen Capitol Police officer: "I just couldn't stay quiet anymore"

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Gladys Sicknick, the mother of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, said that she is hopeful her meetings with GOP senators today will change their minds on whether to vote for a Jan. 6 commission.

"I hope so. I hope so. Brian had a work ethic second to none. He was just there for our country,” she said. “He was just doing his job and he got caught up in it’s very sad.”

She said she usually “stays in the background, but I just couldn’t stay quiet anymore.”

Sicknick is meeting with more than a dozen members of the Senate ahead of their vote on whether to set up a commission to investigate what happened on Jan. 6.

Only three GOP senators — Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have expressed their support for advancing the legislation, and Democrats need at least 10 Republicans.

Collins said Wednesday, "We need to have a commission." But she wants the Senate to vote on an amendment addressing her two main concerns with the bill: the chairperson appoints the staff (in consultation with the vice-chairperson), and the commission's work could last into the first two months of an election year. Schumer has said a separate Republican staff "warring" with a Democratic staff would be untenable.

Sicknick was joined today by her son’s longtime girlfriend, Sandra Garza, DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, United States Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, and former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.

“We are just so thankful to Senator Romney and his support,” Garza said after their meeting with the Utah Senator, who supports the commission. “We just don’t want other people to get harmed or for this to happen again.”

Garza said members who are considering voting against the legislation should “look at the footage of what happened, it’s very obvious it wasn’t a peaceful day.”

“If January sixth didn’t happen, Brian would still be here,” Dunn said.

And from outside GOP Sen. Ron Johnson’s office she said her message to him was:

“Just look at the footage of all these people went through, and all these police officers did to make them safe, to keep them safe.”

She said “yes I did” call the congressional inaction a slap in the face, as she wrote in her letter.

“Because they put their lives on the line,” she said.

Watch her remarks:

CNN's Alex Rogers, Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed reporting to this post. 

10:42 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Manchin to CNN on Jan. 6 commission: "There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this"

From CNN's Dana Bash and Kristin Wilson

Oliver Contreras/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Oliver Contreras/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, tells CNN he is upset with Republican senators who are refusing to vote for the formation of the Jan. 6 commission.

“There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this commission since Democrats have agreed to everything they asked for. McConnell has made this his political position, thinking it will help his 2022 elections. They do not believe the truth will set you free, so they continue to live in fear,” Manchin said. 

Manchin later said his statement to CNN “really wasn’t fiery. It’s just honest,” and that he just wants to get the truth out.

“That really wasn’t fiery. It’s just honest. And I’m hoping we have enough good Republican friends that look at it from the standpoint and want to get the truth out,” he said. But he insisted he’s not upset.

“I’m not upset. I’m just basically, the Democrats have basically given everything they asked for any impediment they would have been there and there’s no reason not to now. Unless you just don’t want to hear the truth," he said.

He would not answer any question on whether he’d reconsider his stance on the filibuster. Manchin, who is a key swing vote in the Senate, has previously said he would not back a nuclear option, or a rules change to overcome an expected GOP filibuster, to get the commission bill passed. 

So far, only three — Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have expressed their support for advancing the legislation, and Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to pass the bill.

10:36 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Key things to know about the Jan. 6 commission bill the Senate is set to vote on today

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

The House voted to approve legislation on May 19 to create an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The final vote was 252 to 175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the legislation. The bill now faces a vote in the Senate.

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee struck a deal earlier this month 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.

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 opposes the commission. 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.