House Passes Bill To Investigate Capitol Riot, But Its Fate In Senate Is Unclear The measure's prospects in the Senate are dim after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he opposed the bipartisan, 9/11-style panel.

House Passes Bill To Investigate Capitol Riot, But Its Fate In Senate Is Unclear

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Today, 35 Republicans joined all the House Democrats to approve a bill creating a commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. This vote came after the top House and Senate Republican leaders aligned against the plan just hours before the House vote. That frustrated Democrats.


JIM MCGOVERN: Don't talk to us about bipartisanship and then when you get it, you know, turn your back on it.

SHAPIRO: That's Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern sharing that frustration on the House floor. NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales joins us now with details. Hi, Claudia.


SHAPIRO: This commission's modeled after the 9/11 panel, so how would it be structured and report on its findings?

GRISALES: It's very similar to this 9/11 panel. It establishes a 10-member commission, with half of them picked by Democrats, the other half by Republicans. It has bipartisan subpoena power. And they have a report due by December 31. And it came together four months after the attack, with House leaders designating their top members on the Homeland Security Committee to reach a deal. But even after they did, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out against it.

SHAPIRO: What is driving that opposition? And why is there mixed support from the Republican Party on this?

GRISALES: Well, this marks another loyalty test to former President Trump, who called the commission a Democrat trap - with McCarthy, who has demanded changes to an initial plan, what was proposed. But then after Democrats agreed to some of his calls, he came out against it again on Tuesday. And then today, Leader McConnell joined him just a day after expressing openness to it. And he pointed to ongoing law enforcement investigations and congressional probes. Let's take a listen.


MITCH MCCONNELL: It's not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.

GRISALES: He and other Republicans have cycled through a list of concerns since the commission was proposed. And as Democrats would give in, whether it's the split panel or the bipartisan subpoena power, you hear these GOP members come up with new reasons to say no. And today, McConnell and others are focusing on how the commission is staffed. They want it to go beyond even what the 9/11 Commission did by giving Republicans more say there. That said, this isn't playing well among Democrats and even Capitol Police. Just moments ago, members of the agency sent a letter to lawmakers expressing, quote, "profound disappointment" for their opposition. And they note they were subjected to hours of physical trauma. And they said it is inconceivable to see what they say is members downplaying the events of January 6. And we should also note this renewed opposition comes after a meeting between McCarthy, McConnell and other Senate Republicans who changed their tune on this plan.

SHAPIRO: So where does this leave the commission now and other security efforts focused on the fallout from the insurrection?

GRISALES: The commission's fate in the Senate is in danger, with McConnell expressing this opposition. It's hard to see other Republicans that will say, yes, we want to go forward with this. That said, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he's bringing it to the floor either way. And one moderate Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, did not rule out a deal on this and said perhaps negotiations will get them there.

SHAPIRO: NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales. Thank you.

GRISALES: Thanks for having me.

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