Dems push for Home Choose Committee after Senate Republicans derail bipartisan investigation into January sixth assault
Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly made it clear that the move to create a select committee has always remained a substitute option – something that would require the support of a majority in the Democratic House to create. And a number of Democrats said Friday that they believe Pelosi will indeed create the new committee – and that the caucus would strongly support such an effort.
“This is your next step,” said a senior House Democrat on Friday.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who served as impeachment manager in the second trial of former President Donald Trump, said the Senate should pass a law creating an external commission.
“Should that fail, however, Congress should set up a select committee to fully investigate the causes and consequences of the January 6 uprising,” Castro told CNN.
If the House set up such a body, it would give Democrats the power to issue subpoenas and schedule hearings, and to advance an investigation into the causes of the attack and the role of Trump behind it. And it would create a backlash from Republicans who are already trying to label such an effort a partisan endeavor, even though they themselves have a bipartisan outgroup made up of 10 commissioners equally divided between the two parties.
“I don’t think an elected committee is the way to go,” Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the House of Representatives, told CNN last week, calling it a “Pelosi elected committee.”
Pelosi’s office wouldn’t discuss her plans, but the California Democrat has repeatedly suggested that she would prefer to create a non-partisan external commission and that a selected committee remains a clear option on the table. This could lead to a turf war with the Chairs of the House Committee, but Democratic lawmakers downplayed that likelihood on Friday in a desire to conduct a full investigation into what was going on.
In a statement Friday after Republicans successfully filibustered the Commission bill, Pelosi signaled that the job was not done.
“Recognizing our responsibility to Congress where we serve and the country we love, Democrats will continue to find out the truth,” Pelosi said.
Republicans said Friday they realized this was a likely next step. Senate Republicans who opposed the commission said if Pelosi went that route it would be easier to claim that such an investigation would aim to help Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.
Still other Republicans said they were at a loss that their colleagues were not in favor of a bipartisan commission, arguing that their party is giving control to Democrats, who are almost certainly conducting a headline-making investigation into everything that happened on Jan. 6 become.
“Without this commission, there will be another investigation,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who voted with five other Senate Republicans to bring the measure up for discussion. “But it will be a House Select Committee set up by Speaker Pelosi, the nature of which will be dictated by the Democrats and which will stretch for years.”
In the Senate, two separate committees – the Regulatory Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee – are conducting investigations into unpreparedness on January 6th and will publish a report the week of June 7th. However, these investigations are closely focused on the response efforts that day and not on the causes of the uprising.
On Friday, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer would not say whether he thinks his committee chairs should start their own investigations into the attack.
But the New York Democrat made it clear that he believes the House should move forward.
“We preferred to do it non-partisan,” said Schumer. “Every Democrat voted for two parties, but facts have to come out,” he said when asked if the results of a Democratic-led committee would be credible.
Ali Zaslav contributed to this story.