Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin urged Republicans to support the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In a joint written statement released Tuesday, Sinema, D-Ariz., and Manchin, D-W.Va., two moderates who wield considerable influence in the evenly divided Senate, implored their Republican colleagues to recall the violence of that day and establish a panel that could help prevent future attacks.
“The events of January 6th were horrific,” Sinema and Manchin’s statement said. “We could never have imagined an attack on Congress and our Capitol at the hands of our own citizens. In the hours and days following the attack, Republican and Democratic members of Congress condemned the violence and vowed to hold those responsible accountable so our Democracy will never experience an attack like this again.”
The call to Republicans by the centrist Democrats is a test of bipartisanship in the Senate, where many Republicans are eager to move on after the riot instead of examining the factors that led to the attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The measure needs the support of 10 Republicans to overcome an expected filibuster, a procedural maneuver that requires 60 votes to overcome.
“A bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day has passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote and is a critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again,” Sinema and Manchin continued. “We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6th.”
Arizona’s other Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, said shortly after the riot that the events leading up to it had to be examined. Last week, Kelly voiced his support for a commission, saying it would help “gather all of the facts around the events of Jan. 6 and prevent them from happening again.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has opposed creating the bipartisan panel to review what led a pro-Trump mob to storm the Capitol. The plan that passed the House of Representatives is modeled largely after the 9/11 Commission to investigate why the nation’s defenses failed leading up to the terrorist attacks.
McConnell’s opposition effectively signals the Senate can’t summon a filibuster-proof majority to pass the legislation.
Two Republicans — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -— have said they support the legislation. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has said she supports the creation of a commission to look into Jan. 6, with changes to the legislation that passed the House of Representatives by 35 votes last week.
The House-passed legislation would create the commission and give it subpoena power to call witnesses and produce a report by Dec. 31.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said the Senate would take up the legislation soon.
Some Republicans have suggested any commission’s true purpose would be to lay blame at the feet of Trump and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for example, spoke to Trump during the melee, and has resisted discussing that conversation.