- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Senate was scheduled to vote Thursday evening on a bill creating an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol even as Republicans threatened to block the bill, saying it was a partisan fishing expedition targeting former President Trump.

A vote on the procedural motion was bumped to Friday after delays on an unrelated bill to boost scientific research and development pushed back the schedule.

GOP opposition swelled Thursday, even as a handful of Republicans who supported the commission, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, sought to strike a deal with their colleagues.

Those efforts appeared in trouble Thursday evening after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, took a hard line against the commission on the Senate floor.

“I do not believe the additional extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing,” he said. “Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to do that.”

Mr. McConnell said Thursday he would prefer to let the Justice Department and congressional investigations play out rather than create a new commission. He pointed to the more than 440 arrests made in connection to the riot as well as the second impeachment of Mr. Trump.

The bill requires 60 votes in the evenly-divided Senate, so 10 Republicans would have to switch sides to support it. As of Thursday evening, it did not appear that many Republicans favor the legislation.

Without Republican support, the bill likely will be filibustered, which would be the first filibuster of the new Congress.

Several Democratic senators blasted the GOP for their lack of support.

Democrats say Republicans are afraid the commission will hurt them in 2022, when control of both the House and Senate are at stake.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, issued a scathing statement lashing out at Mr. McConnell for failing to support the bill.

“There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against the commission since Democrats have agreed to everything they asked for,” he said. “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.”

Sen. Alex Padilla, California Democrat, said it is critical to understand the causes of the Jan. 6 attack, when an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election victory.

“They claim the proposed commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection is unnecessary because we’ve already increased Capitol security and congressional committees are already investigating this attack,” he said. “Those arguments are outrageous.”

“We need to know the whole truth about Jan. 6,” Mr. Padilla continued.

Last-ditch efforts to sway GOP senators did not appear to do so.

The mother of the U.S. Capitol Police Officer who died of a stroke a day after fighting off rioters during the attack visited Republican senators Thursday and urged them to support the bill.

“Usually I stay in the background. And I just couldn’t stay quiet any more,” said Gladys Sicknick, the mother of slain officer Brian Sicknick.

The bill would create a 10-member commission evenly divided between members chosen by Democratic and Republican leaders. Both sides would have equal subpoena power with the goal of issuing a report by the end of the year.

The commission would be modeled after the panel formed to probe the causes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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