Republicans in the Senate are expected to block a bill that would create a bipartisan commission to examine the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building.
The House passed a bill last week to create the commission, with 35 Republican members joining every Democratic lawmaker in support of its formation. But even with some Republican support in the Senate (Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska), Democrats are unlikely to pass it due to the filibuster.
On January 6, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol and forced their way to the floor of the Senate, disrupting the certification of the Electoral College. Dozens chanted for lawmakers to be harmed, and at the end of the day five individuals had lost their lives.
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With 50 senators in the Democratic Party caucus, at least 10 Republicans would be needed to force cloture of a filibuster. Some Democrats have called for the filibuster to be abolished in order to create the commission.
“There are Democrats in the Senate who say that we need the filibuster for ‘bipartisanship’ while Republicans are literally filibustering an investigation into the insurrection that could have killed them,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri). “We don’t compromise with white supremacy. End the filibuster.”
Centrist Democrats who favor keeping the filibuster intact have voiced deep dissatisfaction with Republicans blocking the formation of the commission.
“There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this commission since Democrats have agreed to everything [Republicans] asked for,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). “[Mitch] McConnell has made this his political position, thinking it will help his 2022 elections. They do not believe the truth will set you free, so they continue to live in fear.”
Debate on the formation of the commission has been ongoing for several months, but a bipartisan deal in the House led to an agreement this month. The proposed commission would have both parties represented equally, with congressional leaders from both sides choosing five members each to serve on a 10-member commission.
The commission would also have subpoena power to conduct its investigation, which could only be used if a majority of the commission or the co-chairs (one Democrat and one Republican) agrees to it.
Polls show most Americans support the creation of a commission. An Axios/SurveyMonkey poll conducted last week found that nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) think a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6 should be formed, while only 29 percent oppose it being created.