The House of Representatives voted 222-190 Wednesday to create a select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol carried out by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The mob stormed the building in an effort to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.
Wednesday’s vote fell largely along party lines, with just two House Republicans joining all 220 Democrats in supporting the resolution. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the measure after Republicans in the Senate blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the riot.
“Sadly, as of last week, there remains no prospect for additional votes from Republican Senators to create the National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Complex,” Pelosi said in a statement Monday on the resolution to create a select committee.
More than 140 law enforcement officers were injured in the violence that unfolded on Jan. 6, and five people, including a Capitol Police officer, were killed.
Last month, the House passed a bipartisan bill to create an independent Jan. 6 commission modeled after the one formed in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But that bill failed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly rallied Republicans to vote against it — a move Pelosi derided as “cowardly.”
Although Pelosi made clear she preferred to have an independent commission investigate the circumstances surrounding the events of Jan. 6, she announced last week that she would move forward with establishing a House select committee. “It is imperative that we seek the truth as to what happened,” she told reporters.
Under the resolution passed Wednesday, Pelosi will personally select eight members of the 13-member committee, including its chair. The committee will have subpoena power and a broad mandate to “investigate the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol.” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, will consult with Pelosi on who will fill the remaining five seats, but the speaker will ultimately decide who will serve.
It’s not clear which Republicans, if any, McCarthy plans to recommend for the committee. He opposed the bill to create an independent Jan. 6 commission and was similarly dismissive of Pelosi’s proposal to form a select committee, suggesting it was politically motivated and unnecessary in light of several other ongoing criminal and congressional investigations into the attack.
The speaker has also reportedly been considering appointing a Republican, although she has not indicated who that might be. GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both outspoken critics of Trump, were the only members of their party to vote Wednesday in favor of creating the commission and are thought to be leading contenders to serve on it. In May, 35 House Republicans voted in favor of the bipartisan bill to create an independent Jan. 6 commission.
Among the opponents of the select committee was Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. He helped negotiate the deal for the initial Jan. 6 commission bill, but later pledged to vote against the select committee, calling it a "turbocharged partisan exercise."
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., rumored to be Pelosi’s choice to chair the committee, issued a statement following Wednesday’s vote thanking the two Republicans who broke with their party.
“Democrats tried and tried to reach agreement with Republicans on launching an independent, bipartisan investigation into the attack on the citadel of our democracy, but it is now evident that most on the other side of the aisle are unwilling to get at the unvarnished truth of not only why a mob of Americans violently attacked the Capitol but also, why the government failed, at all levels, to stop it,” Thompson said in his statement.
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