On Friday, the Republican leaders at Senate blocked the creation of a bipartisan panel to probe the deadly 6th January attack on the Capitol, showing continuous party loyalty to former Republican President Donald Trump. The former president intends to show firm determination to shift the political focus away from the riot through his GOP supporters. The vote in Senate was 54-35 – six less than the sixty needed – to take up a House-approved bill that would form an independent ten-member commission evenly divided between Republican and Democratic party.
Moreover, the recent development came one day after emotional appeals for the commission from police who fought the violent insurrection, the family of a police officer who died, and representatives in both parties who fled their chambers in Capitol during the worst attack on the building in last two centuries. The Republican leaders were mostly but not completely united: Six voted with Democratic lawmakers to move forward. Eleven senators – two Democrats and nine Republicans – were absent from the vote, an unusually big number of absentees for one of the highest-profile votes of the year.
At least one of the missing Republican senators would have decided to vote in favor of considering the commission, according to the information from his office. Furthermore, the Republicans opposition means that questions about who should be accountable for the attack could continue to be filtered over a prejudiced lens – in committees of Congress – instead of addressed by an outside, the autonomous panel demonstrated after the commission that investigated the 11th September 2011, terror attacks on Pentagon.
Republicans Need to Participate for Impartial Investigation of the Riot
Bill Cassidy, the Senator of Louisiana, one of the Republicans who voted in favor of moving forward, declared that the investigations would happen with or without the Republican leaders. To ensure the investigations are impartial, fair, and focused on the facts and pieces of evidence, Republican leaders need to stay involved in the process. In part, the vote was a Republican effort to pacify Donald Trump or avoid his retaliation, as he has kept a firm hold on the party since his defeat from Democratic leader Joe Biden.
Trump told his supporters to fight like hell to reverse his defeat before the siege and continuously falsely claims that he won the election. The former president called the commission legislation a Democratic trap. The vote at Friday – the first successful use of a Senate filibusterer in the Biden governance – was representative of the deep mistrust between both parties since the siege, specifically among Republican leaders, with some in the party restraining the violence and defending the demonstrators.
Moreover, the vote is likely to spur Democrat’s pressure to do away with the filibusterer, a time-honored procedure particularly used to kill major legislation. It requires sixty votes to move ahead instead of a simple majority in the hundred-member Senate. With the Senate evenly split fifty-fifty, Democrats needed support from ten Republicans to move to the commission bill.
While talking to his Republican colleagues, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said after the vote they were trying to sweep the violence of that day under the rug out of fear or fealty to the former president. Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, echoed that assurance, saying the Democratic party will fund the truth.