Former President Trump is chastising the 35 House Republicans who broke party ranks on Wednesday to support the creation of an independent commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
“They just can’t help themselves,” Trump said of the GOP defectors in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Calling Republicans who supported the legislation “weak and ineffective,” Trump charged that Democrats have a much easier time sticking together on votes than his party.
“They don’t have the Romney’s, Little Ben Sasse’s and Cheney’s of the world,” he contended, referring to Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who supported the bill in a floor vote Wednesday afternoon and Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who have expressed potential support in the Senate.
Trump’s statement comes just 24 hours after he urged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, to oppose the commission, the terms of which had been negotiated on a bipartisan basis, and ensure their members followed suit.
It is unclear just how many Senate Republicans will vote in favor of the commission once it is introduced in the upper chamber.
Supporters of the plan will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill.
McConnell announced Wednesday that he opposes the bill, but didn’t tell reporters whether he’d actively whip his fellow Republicans against it.
CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed reporting to this post.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made clear on Thursday that he would oppose the creation of a select committee in the House to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
Asked by CNN if he would also be willing to testify before a potential select committee, minutes after he expressed openness to testifying before an outside commission if one were established, McCarthy answered, “there is no select committee in the House.”
“I don’t think a select committee is the proper way to go,” he said, noting the ongoing bipartisan committee investigation in the Senate.
McCarthy railed against the possibility of a “Pelosi select committee,” telling reporters “the speaker should’ve not played politics.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that her “overwhelming preference” is for a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, when asked by CNN if she is committed to a select committee if legislation to establish a commission fails in the Senate.
But she expressed openness to the option last month, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN “of course” when asked on Wednesday if he would pursue a select committee to investigate if the bill to create the independent commission fails in the Senate.
Sen. Richard Burr, one of the seven GOP senators to vote for former President Trump’s impeachment, explained his opposition today to the Jan. 6 commission, which tracks largely with what he told reporters yesterday.
His opposition all but torpedoes any hope of getting 10 Republican senators.
“I don’t believe establishing a new commission is necessary or wise,” Burr said in a statement.
Some more context: The bill, which passed in the House yesterday, will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he is opposed to the bill but wouldn’t tell reporters if he’d actively whip his fellow Republicans against it.
The House has narrowly passed a $1.9 billion spending bill to increase security at the US Capitol in response to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection as progressives almost sunk the bill.
The final vote was 213-212, with 3 voting present. Progressives almost blocked the bill in a last minute effort because they did not support the funding in the legislation that would go to the police. The three present were: Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The three no votes were: Reps. Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.
The bill now heads to the Senate before it can go to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The $1.9 billion legislation was developed in response to the findings and recommendations of a task force led by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who was tasked by Pelosi to lead a review of Capitol security after the insurrection.
Here’s what is in the bill:
- The legislation would provide $250 million for Capitol grounds security, which could be used for physical infrastructure including “retractable, or “pop-in” fencing, and security sensors,” according to a bill summary released by the House Appropriations Committee.
- There would be $162.7 million to harden security safeguards for windows and doors at the Capitol as well as at House and Senate office buildings.
- The plan would have $7.4 million set aside to increase security for lawmakers, including threat assessments, and $10.6 million would go toward security measures and the installation of camera systems in district offices for members.
- The Capitol Police force would get $8.6 million for body cameras, $6.8 million for specialized training and $2.6 million “to procure basic riot control equipment to outfit all officers with ballistic helmets, batons, and body shields,” the bill summary states.
- The legislation would set aside $200 million “to create a dedicated Quick Reaction Force to augment the Capitol Police,” according to the summary.
- The bill summary says there would be $39.5 million “to process the hundreds of prosecutions of perpetrators of the January 6 insurrection, including $34 million for United States Attorneys; $3.8 million for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; and $1.7 million for the National Security Division of the Department of Justice.”
Read more about today’s vote here.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that her “overwhelming preference” is for a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission to be created, but she noted that “everybody knows what my options are, they are no secret.”
“We are taking this one step at a time. What we’ve said we want is a bipartisan commission. I don’t want to weaken that position. Everybody knows what my options are, they are no secret. But the preference, not only preference, overwhelming preference, is for bipartisanship,” Pelosi said when asked by CNN if she is committed to forming a House select committee if legislation to establish a commission fails in the Senate.
Pelosi downplayed concerns over GOP resistance in the Senate, saying that “I don’t think that what we’ve heard from the Senate is so bad compared to what we usually hear from the Senate.”
Later, she signaled that the commission bill might be altered in the Senate.
“We want to bring it to the floor when it is ready – for them to bring it to the floor when it is ready. They may have some modifications in it, which we would see what they are,” Pelosi said.
The House is now voting on the bill to allocate $1.9 billion in spending to increase security at the Capitol in response to the deadly January 6 insurrection.
Democratic leadership is whipping votes last minute, as it is expected to be tight.
The sweeping legislation, introduced by House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, covers a range of priorities, including funding to enhance security across the Capitol grounds as well as provisions to bolster protections and increase preparedness for lawmakers, including at their district offices, and the Capitol Police force.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN she is not worried about getting votes to pass the security supplemental, even though House Democratic leadership was seen whipping votes ahead of the final vote and even delayed the start of the vote as they negotiated on the House floor.
“No” Pelosi told CNN when asked if she was worried about not having the votes to pass the security supplemental.
Sen. John Thune, the Republican whip, said he will not be advertising whether or not he is going to whip the bill on the Jan. 6 commission. This follows an announcement Wednesday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was not supportive of the bill and as the legislation is imperiled in the Senate.
“We don’t announce what we are or are not whipping, but I don’t know the answer to that question. We aren’t dealing with it yet. It’s not over here yet,” Thune said.
Asked if the commission is dead, he said, “I don’t know. We will see. It came out of the House.”
What’s next: The House voted to pass the legislation yesterday. Now, supporters of the plan will now need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday put the House-passed bill to create a Jan. 6 commission on the Senate legislative calendar.
He repeated how he intends to bring the bill for a vote, but declined to share a specific timeline just saying it’ll be “very soon.”
“My Senate Republican colleagues must now ask themselves are they going to join us in pursing the truth or are they going to cover for Donald Trump and his ‘Big Lie,’” he said.
Schumer said he hopes “enough of my Republican colleagues will step up and join with Democrats to establish the commission.”
The New York Democrat criticized Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for coming out against to the Jan. 6 commission.
“The Republican Leader who called the January 6 attack a disgrace who said he believed there was no question Donald Trump was morally responsible for the attacks now finds this whole endeavor unnecessary,” he said. “Of course that wasn’t always the case, in the aftermath of the Capitol attack, the Republican leader Senator McConnell said we needed a serious and thorough review of the attacks, but very quickly the goal posts started to move.”
Schumer also, without naming him, blasted Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, for his argument on Fox News last night that the Jan. 6 Capitol attack ”wasn’t” an insurrection, but in fact “by and large a peaceful protest.”
Schumer said, “If there was ever a justification for creating a bipartisan commission to study and report on the attack of January 6 the comments of that senator provide it.”
He also argued many GOP in both chambers are trying to “rewrite history.”
“Republicans in both chambers are trying to rewrite history in fealty to or in fear of the former President Donald Trump, Republicans in both chambers are trying to erase the memory of January 6 and perpetuate the ‘Big Lie,'” Schumer said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the 35 Republican members who voted to support a measure that would form an independent commission to investigate the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 signals that the bill is a bipartisan effort.
“It’s interesting to see 35 members coming forth. I’m very proud of them. And it was a recognition that this was a bipartisan product, negotiated in good faith,” she said in a news conference on Thursday.
“I would like to have the trust that the Senate wants to find the truth as well. And let’s just give them a chance to do that without hanging something over them about a timetable or other options that exist for the Speaker of the House,” the Democratic leader said of the process that now awaits the Senate.
Pelosi also noted “the courage” of Republicans who have said the 2020 presidential election results were .imate.
“When we think of the Republicans and the courage that they’ve had in the electoral system in our country, and the election decisions that have been made to support… the fact that the election was .imate. Many Republicans were the ones who came forward. So, I think that there’s some courage that needs to be recognized in the party,” she said.