Washington: Hours before the US House of Representatives was expected to approve the creation of a commission to investigate the deadly January 6 Capitol attack by former president Donald Trump’s supporters, the Senate’s top Republican set up a major roadblock.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a speech on the Senate floor, announced his opposition to the planned commission. He rejected what he called “the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal.”
The House bill would give Republicans equal power with Democrats in appointing commissioners and equal say over witnesses subpoenaed to testify.
McConnell has complained that commission staff would be hired by Democrats, who control both chambers of Congress.
The heads of a similar panel that investigated the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants issued a statement urging the creation of an independent commission to look into the causes of the January 6 attack.
“As we did in the wake of September 11, it’s time to set aside partisan politics and come together as Americans in common pursuit of truth and justice,” Chairman Thomas Kean, a Republican former New Jersey governor, and Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democratic former US congressman, said in a statement.
In the evenly split Senate – controlled by Democrats only because Vice-President Kamala Harris can cast tie-breaking votes – Republicans can block the legislation. At least 60 votes are needed to advance most bills in the 100-member Senate.
McConnell, referring to existing congressional investigations and the previous arrests of hundreds of people in connection with the riot, slammed the door on further negotiations on establishing an independent commission.