Democrats now have two Republican senators who will vote for the creation of a January 6 commission as Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski said they would jump on board.
‘The January 6 commission bill,’ a reporter posed at the Capitol on Tuesday, to which Murkowski said: ‘I’m going to support it.’
Romney became the first Republican senator to definitively say he would vote for the commission on Monday.
‘I would support the bill,’ the Utah senator told reporters on Capitol Hill.
To avoid threats of a filibuster, Democrats now need eight more Republicans in order to reach the 60 vote threshold to start debate on creating a commission to investigate the Capitol attack earlier this year.
Romney and Murkowski’s comments are the most definitive yet from a GOP senator, but Republican colleagues Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine have said they ‘strongly’ support the creation of a ‘9/11-style commission’.
These four senators were part of the group of seven Republicans who voted to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment hearing earlier this year, which was held as Democrats blamed the former president for inciting the attack on January 6 by pushing voter fraud claims.
Moderate Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said this week they would vote for the creation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that he would oppose the legislation, making it very unlikely that it will pass the upper chamber as Democrats need 60 votes to start debate on the bill and avoid threats of a filibuster
Romney and Murkowksi’s support is important to Democrats, but with an evenly split Senate, they need to garner 10 GOP votes to avoid the threat of a filibuster when Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attempts to bring a vote to the floor to launch a debate on the bill.
Without 60 votes in the Senate, Republicans can block the legislation from ever getting to the floor by using the filibuster, which Democrats are trying to nix as they face complications in Congress with the smallest majority in modern history.
While Schumer hasn’t said when he will bring a vote on debating the commission to the floor, he characterized the timing Monday as ‘very soon.’
Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema released a joint statement on Tuesday calling for Republicans to support the commission.
‘A bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day… is a critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again,’ Machin and Sinema wrote.
They continued: ‘We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6th.’
Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona are both moderates who have help stall some Democratic initiatives – like the $15 federal minimum wage – considering just one party defector can effectively kill legislation.
Further complicating the matter is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying last week that he would not back the bill to create a commission on the attack on January 6, meaning it is even more unlikely to pass the upper chamber.
Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, both moderates, released a joint statement urging their Republican colleagues to support creation of a bipartisan commission
‘After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th,’ McConnell said from the Senate floor last Wednesday.
Opposing the 9/11-style commission comes as a surprise after McConnell’s public falling out with Trump after the former president refused to concede the election to Joe Biden.
Democrats blame Trump for the attack earlier this year, claiming his rhetoric incited his supporters to descend on the Capitol the day lawmakers voted to certify the election results for Biden. The attack ultimately led to Trump’s second impeachment, which, like the first, did not result in a Senate conviction.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also harshly opposes the commission creation, but has received backlash for initially blaming Trump for the attack and walking back after a meeting with the former president at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.
GOP Senators Bill Cassidy (left) and Susan Collins (right) have said they do support the creation of a commission but have not definitively said, like Romney, if they would vote to launch debate on the measure in the Senate
On January 6, thousands of Trump supporters descended and breached the Capitol to protest the certification of the election for Joe Biden. Since then, Democrats have called for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the attack and prevent future events
McConnell and McCarthy’s comments prompted a letter to circulate on Capitol Police letterhead stating: ‘It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6.’
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger launched a scathing attack Sunday on McCarthy for ‘lying’ about the January 6 riot. He told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that it was vital that Congress establish a 9/11-style commission into the attack to get to the bottom of what happened.
‘The American people deserve the truth,’ he told host Chris Wallace.
‘And my party to this point has said things like it was hugs and kisses, it was Antifa and BLM, it was anything but what it was, which was a Trump-inspired insurrection on the Capitol.’
The House passed legislation last week to form a bipartisan commission of five Republicans and five Democrats to investigate the January 6 riots, in spite of opposition from Republican leadership.
Senator Collins, a moderate Republican, offered a glimmer of hope that the bill could get through the Senate by signaling a break from party leadership.
Collins said it was vital to understand why law enforcement wasn’t better prepared for the attack by an angry mob of Trump supporters who stormed Congress.
‘I strongly support the creation of an independent commission,’ Collins told ABC ‘This Week’ on Sunday morning.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger accused Kevin McCarthy of lying about the January 6 riot
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy initially blamed Donald Trump for inciting the riot, before reversing his position after meeting with the former President at Mar-a-Lago
Some 140 Capitol Police officers were injured when an angry mob of Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the US Capitol to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory
‘I believe there are many unanswered questions about the attacks on the Capitol on Jan. 6.’
The moderate Senator from Maine said she wanted to see minor amendments to the bill that passed the House, with equal numbers of staff from each party working on the commission and for the report to wrap up this year.
Collins was one of seven Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 attacks.
But of that group, North Carolina Richard Burr has already come out against the commission, meaning it is unlikely to gain the 10 Republican votes it would require to pass.
Collins was optimistic it could be done.
‘There’s plenty of time to complete the work,’ she told host George Stephanopoulos.
‘And I’m optimistic that we can get past these issues based on the conversations I’ve had with the speaker of the House and the House majority leader.’
Meanwhile Kinzinger, one of 35 Republicans in the House to vote for the forming of an independent commission into January 6, tore into Kevin McCarthy, who initially blamed Trump for the attack before reversing his position after a meeting with the former President at Mar-a-Lago.
‘What we need is a comprehensive look of what happened that led up to Jan. 6,’ Kinzinger said. ‘Who was talking to who? What were the lies?’
‘I do think Kevin has failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to the American people.
‘And it pains me to say it. It’s not like I enjoy standing up and saying this.’
Kinzinger said the Republican voters who believe the election was stolen, had been misled.
Collins said Sunday on ABC News that she strongly supports the formation of the independent commission, signaling a break from party leadership
‘The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth,’ Kinzinger said.
‘That’s where Kevin has failed, because he told the truth… then he went to Mar-a-Lago and said Donald Trump’s the leader of the party.
‘He’s right ― Donald Trump is the leader of the party. But we need to tell people the truth.’
Four Republican Senators have expressed openness to voting for the commission: Collins, Cassidy and Mike Crapo.
A further 11 are still considering whether to support the bill, 25 oppose and 10 are unknown.
This week, it was revealed more than 70 US Capitol police have quit since the January 6 riots.
Some 140 Capitol Police officers were injured when an angry mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol building to stop the certification the election victory of Joe Biden.
Officer Brian Sicknick, who was among hundreds of officers trying to fight off rioters without the necessary equipment or planning, died following the January 6 riot.
It was determined in April that Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes.
Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, who had been on the Capitol Police force since 2005, died by suicide less than a week after the riots.