will vote on Thursday on legislation establishing a special commission
to investigate the Jan. 6 attack
on the United States Capitol
by Donald Trump supporters
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the bill's outcome, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
(D-NY) moved to open debate on it on Tuesday, with only a few Republicans
“We all know the commission is an urgent, necessary idea to safeguard our democracy
,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “What happened on Jan. 6 was a travesty, a travesty. It put America in danger in ways we haven’t seen in decades, if not our entire history.”
To overcome a Republican filibuster
need at least 10 Republicans to vote for the bill, which passed the House
last week with 35 Republican votes
in favor despite opposition from party leadership.
Over the past few months, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) has shifted his opposition to the commission, citing concerns about its structure, scope, and alleged duplication of the Justice Department
into the riot.
On Tuesday, McConnell provided a more candid explanation, stating that Democrats prefer to focus on the past, whereas Republicans prefer to highlight President Joe Biden
“They would like to continue to litigate the former president into the future,” McConnell said at a press conference, adding, “We believe the American people
should focus on what this administration is doing to the country going forward and in the fall of ’22.”
Several Republicans who voted to convict Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurgency, including Alaska
's Lisa Murkowski, Utah
's Mitt Romney
, and Maine
's Susan Collins
, have expressed interest in supporting the House-passed bill, while others, including Louisiana
's Bill Cassidy and Pennsylvania
's Pat Toomey, have remained publicly undecided.
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who was a surprise vote for Trump's conviction in January, opposes the establishment of a commission to investigate the Capitol attack.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who withdrew his objection to the Electoral College vote count on Jan. 6 after the riot interrupted his Senate floor speech, told Stardia that the House bill, written by a Republican and a Democrat and supported by 35 Republicans, is only bipartisan “in theory.”
“There is no way they can put together a commission and have that done by the end of December,” Lankford said, referring to the bill’s final report deadline.
Lankford suggested that Congress
wait for the findings of a bipartisan Senate investigation into the riot before conducting another investigation.
Broad Republican opposition to the bill prompted two moderate Democrats, Joe Manchin
of West Virginia
and Kyrsten Sinema
, to issue a statement on Tuesday pleading with their colleagues to come around. In the name of bipartisan compromise, the two Democratic senators have resisted calls within their party to eliminate the filibuster.
When asked about McConnell's opposition to the commission, Manchin said, "That is extremely frustrating and disturbing."