House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday he opposed an inquiry to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, siding with Republicans who have tried in recent days to downplay and move on from efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
McCarthy’s opposition to the bipartisan agreement for an independent commission came ahead of a House vote to create the panel modeled after the 9/11 Commission, which would be tasked with investigating the circumstances behind supporters of then-President Trump breaching the Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote for President Biden.
In a statement explaining his opposition, McCarthy accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of failing to negotiate in good faith, while saying that the scope of the proposed legislation needed to also look at other episodes of political violence beyond Jan. 6.
“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” McCarthy said.
The bipartisan agreement to establish the Jan. 6 commission was reached last week by House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. John Katko of New York, who was one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in the wake of the attack on the Capitol.
But McCarthy and other top Republicans did not endorse the agreement Katko had reached, which would give McCarthy much of what he’d sought Pelosi, including an even number of Democrats and Republicans and sign-off from both sides for subpoenas.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was noncommittal on the commission Tuesday, saying Senate Republicans were “undecided” about the best way forward.
McCarthy’s opposition to the agreement raises questions about the GOP leader’s role in the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, as he had a heated phone conversation with Trump as the insurrection was unfolding.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the ousted GOP conference chair, said on Sunday that McCarthy should provide information to the commission if it is created. Katko on Monday said it would be up to the commission to decide whether to subpoena McCarthy, noting that both sides would have to sign off.