House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday introduced a bill to establish a committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol that’s heavily weighted towards Democrats after Senate Republicans scuttled a bipartisan deal last month.
“The Select Committee will investigate and report upon the facts and causes of the attack and report recommendations for preventing any future assault,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement after the bill was introduced.
“January 6th was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure such an attack cannot again happen,” she said.
The bill, which was expected to go to the Rules Committee on Monday night and then the House floor on Wednesday, puts Pelosi firmly in control of the process. Asked whether she thinks any Republican members would vote in support of the bill, Pelosi said, “I have no idea. Ask them.”
“The Speaker shall appoint 13 Members to the Select Committee, 5 of whom shall be appointed after consultation with the minority leader,” the bill says.
It also gives Pelosi the power to select a chair to lead the panel, which will be empowered to “investigate and report upon the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex” and “relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power” that day, the bill says.
The committee, which Pelosi said would be comprised entirely of House members, will have the power to subpoena documents and witness testimony.
A bipartisan version of the bill passed the House last month by a vote of 252-175, with 35 Republicans in favor despite late opposition from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. That version of the bill was negotiated by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the top Democrat and the top Republican of the House Homeland Security Committee, and would have split 10 appointees to the commission evenly between the two parties.
But Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted against the bill as some in the party feared a commission report would be bad politics for them and undercut their goal of winning control of Congress in the 2022 election. The bill was also opposed by former President Donald Trump, whose actions on Jan. 6th are expected to come under scrutiny by the commission.
Pelosi made reference to McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly urging Republicans to do him a “favor” by voting against the earlier bill in her statement Monday.
“Senate Republicans did Mitch McConnell a ‘personal favor’ rather than their patriotic duty and voted against the bipartisan commission negotiated by Democrats and Republicans. But Democrats are determined to find the truth,” she said.
A Pelosi aide added that she is “seriously considering” appointing a Republican with one of her unilateral picks, which would make the composition of the committee 7-6 Democrats-to-Republicans, as opposed to 8-5.
The Republican-controlled Benghazi select committee during the Obama administration was 7-5 Republicans-to-Democrats.
“It would be a turbo-charged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and Capitol Police deserve,” said Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., in opposition of the bill. “For those reasons, I will not support its creation when voted upon.”