Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) called on President Joe Biden to establish a presidential Jan. 6 commission following the “cowardly” filibuster by Republicans to block a congressional investigation into the Capitol insurrection.
“In light of the GOP’s cowardly filibuster of a bipartisan January 6th Commission, I urge President Biden to form and appoint a Presidential Commission to fully investigate the insurrection at the United States Capitol, to identify the individuals and organizations who plotted or were involved in those violent acts, and to make recommendations to prevent such an attack from ever recurring,” Connolly said in a statement Saturday. The Virginia lawmaker is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations.
A legal adviser to the government’s 9/11 Commission also called for a presidential commission. The nation must investigate the “worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812,” Lance Cole, a Pennsylvania State University law professor, urged in the New York Daily News on Friday.
The Senate on Friday voted 54-35 to support a measure passed by the House that would have established a commission to probe the Jan. 6 riot by Donald Trump supporters aimed at disrupting the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. But the Senate needed 60 votes to move forward to further debate under the rules of the filibuster, which Republicans launched to block the bill. It was Republicans’ first use of a filibuster in the Biden administration.
Only six Republicans voted in support of the measure, and several didn’t even bother to vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly asked senators as a “personal favor” to vote against the measure. He described such a commission ― something that would typically be established to investigate an event as profound as the storming of the Capitol ― as “extraneous.”
The filibuster angered Democrats, who had modified the bill to fulfill changes requested by GOP lawmakers.
“There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against the commission since Democrats have agreed to everything they asked for,” centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said after the vote. Manchin, a defender of the filibuster, called the Republican position “unconscionable.”
Biden did not immediately respond to Connolly’s call Saturday. But the White House said Friday that the president “remains committed” to pressing for an independent investigation of the Capitol riot.
“The president has been clear that the shameful events of Jan. 6 need to be independently and fully investigated,” principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One. “He remains committed to that and we will continue to work with Congress to find a path forward to ensure that happens.”