Lawmakers from both major parties made a deal Friday to launch an independent bipartisan commission to probe the Jan. 6 incursion of the U.S. Capitol.
Following the announcement, though, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he hadn’t signed off on the agreement.
House Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and committee ranking member Rep. John Katko, a New York Republican, said they had reached an agreement to create a 9/11-style commission to study “the facts and circumstances of the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy,” NBC News reported.
The agreement came following months of negotiations and is expected to be voted on by the House as early as next week.
“Inaction — or just moving on — is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol,” Thompson said in a statement announcing the agreement.
“After all, the Capitol is not just a historic landmark, it is where our constituents come to see their democracy in action. As such, we owe it to the Capitol police and all who enter our citadel of democracy to investigate the attack.”
The commission “is about facts, not partisan politics,” the New York Republican said.
The proposed 10-person commission would include five members appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and five members appointed by McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, NBC News reported.
However, moments after Thompson announced the agreement, McCarthy said he had not signed off on the proposal and didn’t know a news release was being sent to reporters Friday morning.
The California Republican also expressed concern over the scope of the commission and said he wanted it to go beyond the incursion of the Capitol and take a broader look at political violence, The Wal Street Journal reported.
“You’ve got to look at what the build-up before and what has gone on afterwards, otherwise the commission does not work,” he said.
“I know Nancy Pelosi played politics with this for a number of months, and you got to look at the buildup before, and what went on afterward, otherwise the commission is not worth it.”
Many Republicans, including McCarthy and McConnell, have argued that the commission should be expanded to look at the riots during Black Lives Matter protests last year and the death of a police officer at the Capitol in April.
The National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act will need a simple majority to make it through the House and 60 votes to advance in the Senate.
Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted from her role as chair of the House Republican Caucus earlier this week and replaced by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, expressed her support for the bill.
“In the aftermath of national crises, such as Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, or September 11th, our nation has established commissions so the American people know the truth and we can prevent these events from happening again,” the Wyoming Republican said in a statement.
“The same thing is needed for January 6th and this commission is an important step forward to answering those fundamental questions.”
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