Senate Republicans are expected to block a bill creating a commission to investigate the pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, preventing a high-profile probe into the attack that led to the deaths of five people and about 140 police officers injured.
The timing of the vote to create the independent panel is still not known because it’s unclear how long Republicans will drag out the fight over another unrelated bill. The Senate adjourned just before 3 a.m. ET and was expected to resume around 9 a.m. ET.
Despite the delay, the commission vote is still expected to fall short of the 60 votes it needs to advance.
Here’s how the commission would work, if it were passed in Congress:
- The panel would attempt to find bipartisan consensus. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate evenly split the selection of its 10 members.
- A subpoena can only be issued to compel witness testimony if it has the support of the majority of members, or if the commission’s chairperson, chosen by Democrats, and the vice-chairperson, chosen by Republicans, come to an agreement.
- The commission is also required to submit to the President and Congress a final report by the end of 2021 and dissolve 60 days thereafter — about nine months before the 2022 elections.
The refusal of at least 10 Republican senators to vote for the commission underscores the deeply partisan divide that has emerged over the insurrection earlier this year and comes at a crucial time for Capitol Hill where Democrats are struggling to advance President Biden’s agenda. Some Democrats are citing the resistance by Republicans as a sign for why the Senate should blow up the 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation, given the narrowly divided chamber.
While some Republicans said months ago that a 9/11-type commission into the security of the Capitol was a necessity, they’ve since argued that it wouldn’t yield any new information amid other law enforcement investigations and arrests. Their opposition has infuriated Democrats, who assert that Republicans are trying to protect themselves ahead of the midterm elections.
Read more about where things stand in the Senate here.