House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell officially came out against legislation to create an independent “9/11-style” commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, just ahead of the House vote on the measure on Wednesday.
While the lower chamber is expected to pass the measure with some bipartisan support, McConnell’s comments throw cold water on the likelihood of the commission coming together, as the bill needs the support of at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to meet the 60-vote threshold for passage.
McConnell said that while he has been vocal in his rebuke of the rioters’ actions, he feels the deal negotiated in the House is unfairly slanted in Democrats’ favor.
“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6,” he said in a floor speech Wednesday morning.
“As everybody surely knows, I repeatedly made my views about the events of January 6 very clear. I spoke clearly and left no doubt about my conclusions. Federal law enforcement have made at least 445 arrests and counting relating to crimes committed that day, hundreds of those people have been charged, law enforcement investigations are ongoing, and federal authorities say they expect to arrest at least 100 or so more.”
McConnell, echoing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) argument against the commission, added that he feels the ongoing investigations being conducted by other law enforcement entities will provide ample information on the security shortcomings that led to the breach.
“Bipartisan investigations are also underway and have been for months at the committee level here in the Senate. So there is, has been, and there will continue to be no shortage — no shortage of robust investigations by two separate branches of the federal government,” he continued.
“It’s not at all clear what new facts are additional or an additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.”
“The facts have come out and they’ll continue to come out. What is clear, is that House Democrats have handled this proposal in partisan bad faith going right back to the beginning. From initially offering a laughably partisan starting point and continuing to insist on various other features under the hood that are designed to centralize control over the commission’s process and its conclusions in Democratic hands.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) initially pushed for an 11-person commission with Democrats having control over seven of the individuals tapped to investigate the riot, which was met with sharp pushback from Republicans who accused members across the aisle of politicizing the matter.
A bipartisan agreement that closely mirrors the GOP’s counter-proposal to Pelosi’s was struck between Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.) last week, which would have allowed each party to tap five commissioners that are not current government officials to conduct the probe, which would provide a report to Congress by the end of the year.
While a faction of House GOP lawmakers expressed support for the deal, McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged members against the bill, calling for the commission to investigate a broader scope of issues related to political violence.
Despite the bill appearing dead on arrival in the upper chamber, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to bring the measure up for a vote.
“We’ll see what the House vote is like, but I want to be clear: I will put the Jan. 6 commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote. Period,” he said on Tuesday.