All 5 Southern Democrats vote for bipartisan independent panel to take deep dive into Capitol assault by pro-Trump mob
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CNN) — U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana stood alone among his Southern Republican colleagues Friday in supporting formation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The bill setting up the commission died after supporters fell six votes short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who said the panel would add an “extraneous layer” of investigation into events at the U.S. Capitol, which was stormed by a pro-Trump mob trying to block certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.
Eighteen Southern Republicans voted no, while four did not vote, including U.S. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who, along with Cassidy, voted to convict Donald Trump in an impeachment trial for his actions that day.
The three other Southern Republicans who did not vote on the commission bill were Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Richard Shelby of Alabama. All three had previously indicated that they were opposed to the commission.
In a statement defending his decision not to support the commission, Burr said several investigations are already underway “being led by the committees with jurisdiction, and I believe, as I always have, this is the appropriate course. I don’t believe establishing a new commission is necessary or wise.”
But Cassidy warned his colleagues that if the independent commission wasn’t approved, Democrats in the House would push ahead with an investigation by a select committee “the nature of which will be entirely dictated by Democrats and would stretch on for years.”
The proposed investigative commission — modeled after the panel that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 — would have had 10 members, half appointed by each party. Subpoenas could only have been issued if agreed to on both sides, and the investigation would have wrapped up by the end of 2021, nine months before the 2022 midterm election.
When the measure passed the House, 35 Republicans had voted for it. But when it got over to the Senate, McConnell began urging GOP members to oppose it as unnecessary and potentially politically detrimental.
Trump also came out firmly against the idea, calling it a “Democrat trap” and castigating House Republicans who supported it.
Manchin, the leading centrist voice among Senate Democrats, had been particularly forceful in lobbying his Republican colleagues to support the investigation, saying there was “no excuse for Republicans not to vote for this unless they don’t want to know the truth.”
But Manchin also refused to budge on his long-standing opposition to eliminating the filibuster, the procedure that allowed Republicans to block the commission even though 54 senators were in favor of it.
The Republicans who voted against formation of the commission were:
- Tommy Tuberville of Alabama
- John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas
- Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida
- McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky
- Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker of Mississippi
- Thom Tillis of North Carolina
- James Lankford of Oklahoma
- Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina
- John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas
- Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia