House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he won’t support a proposal to form an independent, bipartisan commission to study the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, almost certainly eroding GOP support ahead of a vote and positioning his party as opposed to investigations of the attack.
McCarthy said he wanted the new panel to look beyond the violent uprising by supporters loyal to Donald Trump, who were trying to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's election. McCarthy pushed to have the new commission also investigate other groups, namely the Black Lives Matter groups that protested police violence in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
He said that given the "shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation."
McCarthy's opposition all but ensures this week’s vote will have less Republican support in the House, and dims its chances in the evenly divided Senate — threatening the bipartisan commission's chances as Democrats say it is essential to reckoning with the violent attack that interrupted electoral count.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill: “It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the cowardice on the part of some on the Republican side -- not to want to find the truth.”
Ahead of a vote, the Biden administration said it supports the legislation to "investigate the facts" on the "unprecedented" attack.
“The Nation deserves such a full and fair accounting to prevent future violence and strengthen the security and resilience of our democratic institutions,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy.
The GOP leader's dissent comes as some other Republicans have started to downplay the severity of the attack, further aligning themselves with Trump who had encouraged his supporters to head to Capitol Hill that day to fight for his presidency.
Modeled after the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the bill would establish an independent 10-member commission that would make recommendations for preventing another insurrection. The panel would have to issue a final report by Dec. 31.
The bill’s path forward is uncertain in the 50-50 Senate, where Republicans have been quiet on the commission in recent weeks and several have said they don't think it's needed. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the initial proposal by Pelosi, saying it should also investigate last summer's riots.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.