Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold a 9/11-style commission into the civil unrest and mostly peaceful protests that occurred on January 6 in and around the U.S. Capitol. The vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining every present Democrat in a vote to start the commission.
Some of the Republicans who voted alongside Democrats are Reps. Tom Rice (R-SC), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), John Katko (R-NY), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Steve Womack (R-AR), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Liz Cheney (R-WY), David Valadao (R-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Fred Upton (R-MI), Marianette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).
The number of Republicans becomes especially notable when considering that – at President Donald Trump’s insistence – both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated they would not support such a commission, and thus, neither should members of the Republican Party in their respective chambers.
According to The Daily Beast, which noted that this represents another embarrassment for McCarthy, “The bill that the House passed Wednesday would create an independent commission composed of 10 people outside of government—five to be picked by Democratic leaders, and five to be picked by Republican leaders. The commission would have subpoena power, but only if the Democratic chair and GOP vice chair agreed, or absent that agreement, if a majority of the commission approved.”
Observers note that McConnell generally has a stronger hold on the Senate than McCarthy does in the House, and it may be far more difficult for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to recruit the necessary 10 Republicans to defect and join the effort to have the commission in what is generally expected to be a party-line vote. However, McConnell reportedly threatened to instruct a critical number of Republicans to join the effort to impeach President Trump should the 45th President have pardoned individuals without McConnell’s permission, and the two have feuded repeatedly since McConnell’s messaging resulted in the loss of two Senate seats in Georgia.