Democrats urge Senate Republicans to support U.S. Capitol riot investigation

Light grabs the security fence around the United States Capitol, erected in the aftermath of the January 6 attack but now slated to begin to be removed, in Washington, USA on March 15, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

Two moderate U.S. Senate Democrats known for their independent streaks on Tuesday urged Republicans to support a bipartisan probe into the deadly Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill, after one in six Republican broke with their leadership and backed a proposed law.

Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema urged Republicans to work with them to reach agreement on a bill to investigate the events leading up to and on January 6, when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, where Congress certified Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November election. , leaving five dead.

Some 35 House Republicans joined Democrats last week in voting to pass the bill that would create a bipartisan committee modeled on that passed by Congress in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

That, however, was an easier achievement in the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a 219-211 majority. The Senate is split 50-50 among parties and requires 60 votes to pass most laws, meaning that under current rules 10 Republican votes would be needed to pass the measure.

“A bipartisan commission charged with investigating the events of that day passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote,” Manchin and Sinema said in a joint statement. “We implore our Republican colleagues in the Senate to work with us to find a way forward.”

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans have spoken out against the House bill, saying the ongoing inquiries by two Senate committees are a sufficient inquiry.

Republicans fear the commission will keep public attention on Trump and his persistent false claims that his electoral defeat was the result of fraud, which could hurt them in the 2022 midterm election, which will determine the control of Congress.

Some Republicans began playing down the violence on Jan.6, when rioters smashed windows, fought with police, and sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to fight for safety. For example, Representative Andrew Clyde, who was pictured on January 6 helping barricade the House bedroom door from attackers, has since likened the crowd to “a normal sightseeing visit.”

Only three of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump of inciting insurgency in his January impeachment trial have so far spoken in favor of the idea.

Senator Lisa Murkowski told reporters on Tuesday, “I will support it,” the day after Senator Mitt Romney also expressed his support.

Another Republican, Senator Susan Collins, said she was in favor of a committee, but that she was in favor of amending the bill passed by the House to ensure a bipartisan endowment.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the Senate will pass the bill, but has yet to set a date. The Republican refusal could reignite Democrats’ debate on whether to at least temporarily suspend the 60-vote obstruction rule and pass the measure with a simple majority vote.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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