Sen. Joe Manchin slammed his Republican colleagues Thursday over their continued opposition to a proposed 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The West Virginia Democrat said it appears that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and most Republicans in the upper chamber have no interest in getting to the bottom of what happened.
“There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this commission since Democrats have agreed to everything they asked for,” Mr. Manchin said in a statement. “Mitch McConnell has made this his political position, thinking it will help his 2022 elections. They do not believe the truth will set you free, so they continue to live in fear.”
Mr. McConnell this week said the proposed commission is “purely a political exercise” and Democrats are trying to focus on “things that occurred in the past.”
His comments reflected the overwhelming sentiment among GOP lawmakers in the Senate, who have signaled they are not interested in digging deeper into what happened.
“I think at the heart of this recommendation by the Democrats is that they would like to continue to debate things that occurred in the past,” the Kentucky Republican said. “They would to continue to litigate the former president into the future. We think the American people going forward, and in the fall of 2022, ought to focus on what this administration is doing to the country and what the clear choice is that we have made to oppose most of these initiatives.
“I think this is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information,” he said.
Mr. McConnell‘s remarks angered Mr. Manchin and sparked speculation that the West Virginia Democrat will rethink his opposition to abolishing the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation through the Senate.
The Democrat-led House passed a bill to create the Jan. 6 commission on a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California opposed the bill.
Former President Donald Trump also came out against the proposal.