Senate Republicans, including Mississippi’s delegation, on Friday blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Six Republicans voted to advance debate on the commission, but the final 54 to 35 vote fell six votes shy of the 60 votes needed to prevent a procedural filibuster.
The bill, modeled after the commission that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was the result of bipartisan negotiations between House Homeland Security Chairman and Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and the committee’s Republican ranking member Rep. John Katko of New York.
The commission would have been composed of 10 members, with both parties appointing half of them. Proponents of the commission said it was necessary for Congress to acquire a full understanding of the most violent attack on Congress since the War of 1812.
Following the vote, Rep. Thompson thanked the Republicans who supported the bill and lambasted those who opposed it, saying they cared more about the potential political ramifications for the 2022 midterm elections than a full account of the deadly pro-Trump riot.
“To be clear, Senate Republicans today voted against finding the truth,” Thompson said in a statement. “They voted against the law enforcement that protect the Capitol every day. They voted against the integrity of our democracy.”
Though 35 Republicans voted to advance the commission in the House, including Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest, the party’s ranks in the Senate became much more unified in opposition after minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, argued the commission was unnecessary given an ongoing report being worked on by two Senate committees.
It has been reported this week that McConnell whipped the necessary votes to block the legislation by asking Republican Senators who were sympathetic to the commission to vote against it as a “personal favor.”
“I do not believe the additional extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing,” McConnell said. “Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to do that.”
Sen. Roger Wicker echoed McConnell’s sentiments in a statement following the vote.
“It is clear that the events of January 6 have been and will continue to be investigated by Congress and our law enforcement agencies,” Wicker said. “It is my view that adding a new commission to this mix would inevitably delay and distract from the productive investigations already underway.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also voted against the bill, but has not commented on her decision.
The six Republicans who voted to advance debate on the commission included Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan M. Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska. All but Portman voted to find former President Donald Trump guilty of inciting the insurrection during his second impeachment trial in February.