The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to form a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to create a 9/11-style bipartisan commission last month.
Only two Republicans voted for the measure, which passed 222 to 190.
House GOP leaders who opposed the select committee claimed it would “pursue a partisan agenda to politicize the Jan. 6 attack instead of conducting a good faith investigative effort into the actions leading up to and the security failures of the 6th.” Of course, the bipartisan, independent commission that Republicans voted against in May would have aimed to do exactly that.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) invited several members of Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police to sit in the House gallery as the vote was ongoing Wednesday. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was among the officers injured while defending the Capitol, attended the vote, as did the wife of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died following the attack.
“It is clear that January 6th was not simply an attack on a building, but an attack on our very Democracy,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to her colleagues ahead the vote. “We had hoped that Congress would establish an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type Commission ... but Mitch McConnell asked GOP Senators to ‘do him a personal favor’ and vote against the Commission. Despite the support of seven Republican Senators, there is no prospect for a Commission at this time.”
Under the resolution establishing the select committee, Pelosi will get to appoint eight members, while five other members will be appointed “after consultation” with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). McCarthy voted to object to the electoral certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory along with dozens of other House Republicans, leading to the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters.
The select committee will be tasked with investigating “the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol.” Unlike the bipartisan commission, however, it will not be required to produce a report by the end of this year.
Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) voted in support of the committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Both lawmakers are considered possible Republican members Pelosi may decide to appoint to the panel.
In a statement issued by her office, Cheney said a select committee was “now the only remaining option” after Senate Republicans blocked setting up an independent bipartisan commission earlier this year.
“The Committee should issue and enforce subpoenas promptly, hire skilled counsel, and do its job thoroughly and expeditiously,” Cheney added.