WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 21: The Department of Homeland Security seal on the podium used by acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan as he announces new rules about how migrant children and families are treated in federal custody at the Ronald Reagan Building August 21, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Trump Administration announced the change in rules that would allow it to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border illegally, replacing the Flores Agreement which limited on how long the government could hold migrant children in custody and how they must be cared for. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former DHS Secretaries urge Senate to support January 6 commission
02:06 - Source: CNN

What you need to know

  • A key procedural Senate vote on a bill to create an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol has been delayed until later Friday.
  • The timing of the vote is uncertain. Senators had expected to take the vote as soon as Thursday night, but a stalled debate on an unrelated bill pushed back the timing.
  • The Jan. 6 commission bill faces intense GOP resistance and is expected to be blocked by a majority of Republicans.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more at CNN Politics.

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Key vote on Jan. 6 commission bill not expected until later on Friday after Republicans bog down the Senate floor

Republican senators have delayed passage of a massive bill designed to increase American competitiveness with China, and that means a key procedural vote on a bill to create an independent panel to investigate the Jan. 6 riot on the US Capitol has been delayed until later Friday.

The timing of the commission vote is still not known because it’s unclear how far Republicans will drag out the fight over the previous bill.

At least eight Republicans have requested time to speak on the floor overnight — for up to an hour each — to voice their objections to the legislative package aimed at China, known as “the US Innovation and Competition Act,” and those GOP senators slammed what they said is a rushed process to make last-minute changes they have yet to review.

As the debate carried into early Friday morning, the chamber was largely empty. Only a few GOP senators remained to listen to ongoing debate. Looking on were a small cadre of bleary-eyed staffers and floor staff.

According to Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who is the GOP Whip, Republicans would likely use five to six hours of their allotted time to speak on the floor overnight. That could be followed by additional debate as well as a series of procedural votes ahead of final passage of the legislative package, pushing the vote on the 1/6 commission farther into the day Friday or beyond.

This could change or go quicker if senators give back their allotted time or forgo some of the steps they have been asked to take, which could speed up or slow down the process depending on what they decide to do.

What could happen next: Once “the US Innovation and Competition Act” has been voted on, the chamber would then move on to the Jan. 6 commission bill.

In order for that bill to move forward at least 60 Senators will have to vote yes, which is not expected. Only three — Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have expressed their support for advancing the legislation.

Here's where things stand in the Senate as the chamber awaits key Jan. 6 commission vote

Senate Republicans are expected to block a bill creating a commission to investigate the pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol on January 6, preventing a high-profile probe into the attack that led to the deaths of five people and about 140 police officers injured.

If you are just tuning in, here’s where things stand in the Senate right now:

  • The vote’s timing: It is uncertain. Senators had expected to take a procedural vote on whether to advance the commission bill as soon as Thursday night before heading out on weeklong Memorial Day recess. But a stalled debate on an unrelated bill aimed at increasing US competitiveness with China pushed back the timing for the commission vote. Senators were on the floor of the Senate late Thursday night to try to solve the impasse.
  • The bill’s chances: Despite the delay, the commission vote is still expected to fall short of the 60 votes it needs to advance. 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. Some Democrats are citing the resistance by Republicans as a sign for why the Senate should blow up the 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation, given the narrowly divided chamber.
  • GOP senators expected to vote for the commission: 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 10. The vast majority of the 50 Senate Republicans are expected to oppose it; West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito told CNN that the issue has become “too politicized.”
  • What the commission would do: It would attempt to find bipartisan consensus. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate would evenly split the selection of its 10 members. A subpoena would only be issued to compel witness testimony if it has the support of the majority of members, or if the commission’s chairperson, chosen by Democrats, and the vice-chairperson, chosen by Republicans, come to an agreement. The commission would also be 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.

Read more about the Senate vote on the commission here.