Senate Republicans on Friday blocked the Senate from moving forward on a bill that would create a commission to investigate the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Most Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposed the bill, although six voted to advance the bill. The six Republican Senators who voted for the Democrats’ partisan effort were Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ben Sasse (R-Ne.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
All but Portman voted to convict former President Trump on the impeachment charge of incitement of insurrection in February. GOP Senator Patrick Toomey was not present for the vote due to a family commitment, but said in a statement that he would have supported advancing the bill.
Democrats, including Joe Biden, have grossly inflated the impact of the riot, characterizing it as the worst “attack” on the Capitol since the Civil War.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to shame the Republicans for shooting down the Democrats’ sham commission.
“Shame on the Republican Party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” Schumer said, noting that many Republicans continued to embrace Mr. Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen. “Senate Republicans chose to defend the ‘big lie’ because they believe anything that might upset Donald Trump could hurt them politically.”
Schumer suggested that he might force another vote on the legislation in the future.
Murkowski expressed disappointment Thursday night when it appeared that the GOP was poised to defeat the bill.
“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on January 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” Murkowski said.
McConnell had argued that since there are already ongoing investigations by congressional committees and the Justice Department, an additional inquiry in congress would be “redundant.”
“I’m disappointed that we just haven’t been able to acknowledge that an independent commission would be an opportunity for us to have an independent review of this while we do our work,” Murkowski said. The senator from Alaska is one of three Republican senators who has expressed support for advancing the bill, and Democrats need 10 to advance it.
In an interview with KSDK on Thursday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said he would vote against the commission because it was “not about getting the facts.”
“It’s a partisan political exercise,” he explained, “as proposed by Nancy Pelosi that’s controlled by Democrats. The scope of it is set by Democrats, the funding is set by Democrats.”
Hawley stressed that he didn’t oppose legitimate investigations into what happened, but Democrats had politicized the issue over and over, rather than “being focused on fact-finding.”