While the vote was 54 to 35, it still fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Only six Republicans vote with Democrats.
CNN’s Jessica Dean reports from Capitol Hill with the latest:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized his GOP colleagues and warned he reserves “the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time” in a “Dear Colleagues” letter sent after Republicans blocked the Jan. 6 commission bill.
“Senate Republicans, at the personal request of Leader McConnell, also continue their brazen attempts to whitewash the attack of January 6th by filibustering the House-passed bipartisan January 6th Commission, even though Speaker Pelosi and I agreed to changes proposed by Senator Collins,” he wrote.
Schumer outlined the work done by the Senate in this legislative session, including the bipartisan Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act and the advancement of a bipartisan bill to address competition with China.
“At the same time, we have also seen the limits of bipartisanship and the resurgence of Republican obstructionism,” he wrote, noting the delayed passage of the China bill.
Schumer said next month’s work period will be “extremely challenging.” In June, he said the Senate will work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, confirm President Biden’s judicial nominees and potentially consider gun safety and LGBTQ equality legislation. In the final week of the month, he said the chamber will vote on S1, a sweeping election bill that has faced staunch Republican pushback.
He also said Senate Democrats will work to advance Biden’s infrastructure and jobs agenda. “As the President continues to discuss infrastructure legislation with Senate Republicans, the committees will hold hearings and continue their work on the Build Back Better agenda – with or without the support of Republican Senators. We must pass comprehensive jobs and infrastructure legislation this summer,” he wrote.
After Senate Republicans voted to block legislation to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement saying Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans’ “denial of the truth of the January 6th insurrection brings shame to the Senate.”
Pelosi said in urging his members to vote against the commission, as CNN reported, McConnell asked Republicans “to be complicit in his undermining of the truth of January 6th” and “in bowing to McConnell’s personal favor request, Republican Senators surrendered to the January 6th mob assault.”
“Democrats worked across the aisle, agreeing to everything that Republicans asked for. We did this in the interest of achieving a bipartisan Commission. In not taking yes for an answer, Republicans clearly put their election concerns above the security of the Congress and country,” she said, adding later that Democrats will “proceed to find the truth.”
Nine Republican senators did not vote today on the procedural vote that would have advanced the Jan. 6 commission bill.
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn
- Sen. Roy Blunt
- Sen. Mike Braun
- Sen. Richard Burr
- Sen. Jim Inhofe
- Sen. Mike Rounds
- Sen. James Risch
- Sen. Richard Shelby
- Sen. Pat Toomey (who is notable because he was on the fence)
Another 35 Republicans voted no, while just six voted yes. At least 10 GOP senators needed to vote yes to advance the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Republican lawmakers who voted against advancing the Jan. 6 commission bill did so “out of fear or fealty to Donald Trump.”
“Out of fear or fealty to Donald Trump, the Republican minority just prevented the American people from getting the full truth about January 6th. The Republican minority just prevented the Senate from even debating the bill. No opportunity for amendments, no opportunity for debate. There was an attempt by the Republican minority to shunt this vote into the dark of night. But because of today’s Senate time agreement, it was done in broad daylight. The American people will see how each Republican senator voted,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
Schumer said voting in favor of the bipartisan commission “should’ve been simple.”
“Senate Republicans for months publicly supported the idea of a commission. But now all of a sudden, the Senate minority and the Senate minority leader waged a partisan filibuster against the bill. This vote has made it official: Donald Trump’s big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican party. Trump’s big lie is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln,” Schumer said.
“Senate Republicans chose to defend the big lie because they believe anything that might upset Donald Trump could hurt them politically,” he said.
“Shame on the Republican party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” he added.
Six Republican senators — Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Sasse — voted to advance the commission bill.
Hear more from Sen. Schumer:
Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday to create a commission investigating the pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol, preventing a high-profile probe into the attack that led to the deaths of five people and injured about 140 police officers.
The vote was 54 to 35. Six GOP senators voted in favor of advancing the bill:
- Sen. Mitt Romney
- Sen. Susan Collins
- Sen. Bill Cassidy
- Sen. Rob Portman
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski
- Sen. Ben Sasse
At least 10 Senate Republicans were needed to join all Democrats to advance the bill. Twice as many Republicans as expected voted for the commission, but not enough to save it.
The vote underscored the deeply partisan divide that has emerged over the insurrection earlier this year.
The House passed-bill would have set up a 10-person panel to figure out what happened on Jan. 6, including the law enforcement’s preparedness and response, and provide recommendations in order “to prevent future acts of targeted violence and domestic terrorism.”
Senate Republicans just blocked a bill that would have created an independent and bipartisan to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that left five people dead and about 140 officers injured.
By a vote of 54 to 35, the Senate failed to advance the commission. At least 10 GOP senators were needed to reach the necessary 60 votes to pass the key procedural vote.
The House-passed legislation aimed to create a 10-person panel to figure out what happened, including the law enforcement’s “preparedness and response” and then report recommendations in order “to prevent future acts of targeted violence and domestic terrorism.”
The refusal of at least 10 Republican senators to vote for the commission underscores the deeply partisan divide that has emerged over the insurrection earlier this year and comes at a crucial time for Capitol Hill where Democrats are struggling to advance President Biden’s agenda.
This is how the commission would have worked if it passed:
- The panel would have attempted to find bipartisan consensus. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate would have evenly split the selection of its 10 members.
- A subpoena would have only be issued to compel witness testimony if it had the support of the majority of members, or if the commission’s chairperson, chosen by Democrats, and the vice-chairperson, chosen by Republicans, came to an agreement.
- The commission would have also required to submit to the President and Congress a final report by the end of 2021 and dissolve 60 days thereafter — about nine months before the 2022 elections.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has strongly suggested that she would approve a select committee in the House to investigate what led to the Jan. 6 insurrection if a vote to form the commission fails in the Senate. Last week, the House passed the bill 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats.
GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, who voted to advance the Jan. 6 commission bill, handed reporters his statement after leaving the chamber.
“The investigations will happen with or without Republicans. To ensure the investigations are fair, impartial, and focused on facts, Republicans need to be involved,” Cassidy said in the statement.
Cassidy said the commission he voted to advance ensured GOP had equal power over the panel and set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2021 so it wouldn’t be drawn out.
He expressed concerns about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s role regarding “lack of adequate security” on Jan. 6 and said he doesn’t think a Democrat-run investigation would evaluate that concern.
Cassidy did not state his position on the bill before today’s vote. Only Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine had indicated they planned to join Democrats and support the bill.
Sen. Mitt Romney wouldn’t say he agrees with fellow GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski that opposing the Jan. 6 commission is a purely political move by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I’m not going to make that judgement,” he said.
However, he did say that it was “unfortunate” that the commission would likely not go forward.
“I think it’s unlikely we’ll find 10 Republican votes and I think that’s unfortunate.”
He added, “I think it would be appropriate to have further evaluation of what happened on Jan. 6, and who’s responsible, and how we can prevent that from happening again.”