McConnell says Senate GOP undecided on Jan. 6 commission

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Republicans in the upper chamber were undecided on whether to support a House-proposed commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

“I think I’m safe in characterizing our conference as willing to listen to the arguments about whether such a commission is needed,” McConnell told reporters after a closed-door caucus meeting. 

“It’s safe for you to report that we are undecided,” he added. 

The House is poised to pass legislation establishing a commission focused on probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in which a mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the building. 

But how much GOP support the bill will get is in flux after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) came out in opposition to the House proposal, citing its singular focus on the Jan. 6 attack. 

“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 in a statement released Tuesday morning.  

Some Republicans have argued the commission’s mandate should be expanded to include events such as last year’s protests, some of which turned violent, following police-involved shootings.  

McConnell, asked about the scope, reiterated that his caucus was undecided and said members want to “read the fine print.” He also hinted that Senate Republicans are concerned that even though the parties would get an equal number of members that Democrats, as the legislation is drafted, would get to pick all the staff. 

McConnell’s comments come as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed on Tuesday that he would hold a vote on the floor on whether to confirm the commission.  

To pass, the Senate the bill would need the support of at least 10 GOP senators. Republicans haven’t yet successfully filibustered a bill. Schumer’s pledge could force them to decide if their first filibuster is going to be of a commission probing the Jan. 6 attack, which most Senate Republicans, including McConnell, have condemned. 

“If the majority leader puts it on the floor, we’ll react accordingly,” McConnell said. 

Tags Charles Schumer Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell

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