The Biden White House announced Tuesday it supported the bill that would establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The White House called the Capitol assault “an unprecedented assault on our democracy, an effort to undo the will of the American people and threaten the peaceful transition of power.”
“While the federal government has already begun taking action to improve the safety and security of the U.S. Capitol, the administration supports the proposed bipartisan, independent national commission to study and investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol,” the White House statement read, The Hill reported.
Earlier Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he won’t support the legislation.
McCarthy argued the bill was too narrowly focused on the Jan. 6 attack, and that the 9/11-style commission should also examine left-leaning protests from over the summer – i.e. Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last May — and even the 2017 shooting at a Republican baseball practice.
“The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked,” McCarthy said in a statement.
The legislation announced last week had been intended to be a bipartisan compromise after a months-long impasse over the power and scope of the commission.
The House plans to vote Wednesday on the bipartisan legislation, which creates a commission of 10 members with expertise in law enforcement and national security backgrounds. Each party would appoint 5 lawmakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., previously proposed an 11-member committee with 7 members appointed by Democrats and just 4 by Republicans.
The bill also allows subpoenas when both the chair and vice chair of the commission agree, or by vote of a majority of the commission’s members.
Supporters of the bill fear failure to establish the commission would prevent an independent evaluation that could help guard against a future 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.
Pelosi accused Republicans who opposed the legislation of “cowardice.”
“I’m very pleased that we have a bipartisan bill to come to the floor,” Pelosi told reporters Tuesday morning. “And [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.”
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the committee’s senior Republican.
By opposing his legislation, McCarthy has angered some Republicans who fear the minority leader has hurt Katko, from a battleground district, to retain the favor of former President Donald Trump, who opposes investigation into Jan. 6.
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