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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, decided to set up a special committee to investigate the January 6 riot after a bipartisan bill to set up an external commission was thwarted by Senate Republicans. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, decided to set up a special committee to investigate the January 6 riot after a bipartisan bill to set up an external commission was thwarted by Senate Republicans.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Nearly a month after Senate Republicans blocked a vote on an outside commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said they are moving forward with plans to set up a special committee to take over the investigation will.

Delivering the news in a news conference Thursday, Pelosi beat up Republicans for rejecting a bipartisan commission to move forward.

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“It is with great solemnity and sadness that I announce this morning that the House will set up a special committee for the January 6 uprising,” said Pelosi. “The sixth of January was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history … it is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure that such an attack cannot take place and that we investigate the causes.”

Last month, the Senate lacked a few votes to advance a panel debate on bipartisan legislation to set up an independent commission to investigate the insurrection. It was the first Republican filibuster in the Senate to block the plan since President Biden took office.

That final vote, on May 28, was 54 to 35, with six Republicans voting with Democrats while another, Pennsylvania GOP Senator Pat Toomey, said he had voted yes but was out of town. Even so, it took 60 votes for the effort to start the debate on the plan.

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The legislation was modeled on the commission set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks, with a body of commissioners divided equally between the parties and the cross-party subpoena power.

Pelosi had signaled that if the Senate did not approve the commission, it could proceed with a select committee. In early May, the House of Representatives approved the plan by 252 votes to 127, with 35 Republicans joining the Democrats in this case.

The legislation followed a bipartisan agreement signed by the leading Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, Chairs Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., And John Katko, RN.Y.

Former President Donald Trump was a major critic of the effort, calling on Republicans to reject the commission plan in front of top politicians and a majority of the party in both chambers and then vote against it.

The Special Committee will join several ongoing investigations, from law enforcement investigations led by the FBI, to several investigations by Congressional committees, to those led by Inspector General for several agencies, including the Capitol Police watch dog.

It will also face challenges that other previous special committees have seen, such as one formed by Republicans in 2012 to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. It marks a much more partisan path, and it’s unclear what role Republicans will play, but it’s likely that they will be spoilers for the panel.

The spokeswoman named neither the chairman of the body nor the democratic legislators she would like to include on the select committee. When asked about Republican participation in the panel discussion, Pelosi said of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “I hope Kevin appoints responsible people to the committee.”

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