Editorials, Opinion

RIP Jan. 6 commission

Senate Republicans killed the Jan. 6 commission.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was one of 35 senators to deliver the death blow to a bipartisan, independent body that would investigate how a rally evolved into a riot — and the subsequent breach of the Capitol  — and make recommendations for tightening security so it can never happen again.

To say we are disappointed is gross understatement.

Capito’s continued failure to put her vote where her mouth is makes her calls for bipartisanship ring hollow.

HR 3233, the bill that would have created the commission, was as independent and bipartisan as anything coming out of the national government can get. The commission would have 10 members: One chairperson appointed by the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader; one vice chair appointed by the minority leaders of the House and Senate; and two members selected by each the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and the House and Senate minority leaders for a  total of five Democrat-appointed and five Republican-appointed members. In addition, individuals on the 9/11-style commission “may not be an officer or employee of an instrumentality of government.” The bill’s only true fault was its tight deadline: Final reports must be given to the president and Congress by Dec. 31, 2021.

Republican congressmen have tried to throw out various non sequiturs to justify their plain partisanship, one of which came from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He claimed the commission would be useless and redundant because two Senate committees have their own investigations. However, the commission was designed to build off all pending investigations regarding the Jan. 6 attack. Instead of starting from scratch, it would collect and analyze all evidence and information that had already been unearthed, eliminating the redundancies while also given greater weight to any final conclusions because of the commission’s bipartisan nature.

America needs this commission, if for no other reason than that 55% of Republicans strongly or somewhat agree that the Jan. 6 insurrection was committed by left-wing bad actors who wanted to make Trump look bad, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. A thorough, independent investigation could at least put those conspiracies to bed.

Sen. Joe Manchin said it well when he commented, “I am sorry that my Republican colleagues and friends let political fear prevent them from doing what they know in their hearts to be right.”

Capito proved with her “nay” vote that party politics is more important to her than finding answers and justice for all the officers and innocents hurt and killed during the riot.

Manchin still hasn’t budged on the filibuster, but perhaps the failure of the Jan. 6 commission will make him see that a Republican Senate minority led by McConnell will never allow Democratically-favored legislation to pass, no matter how bipartisan or publicly popular.

The AP reported Wednesday there’s hope HR 3233 could come up for a second vote in the Senate. Maybe Capito will finally vote her conscience. Or maybe Manchin will change his mind about the filibuster. Or maybe we’ll disappointed yet again.it