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Schumer tees up vote on Jan. 6 commission bill

Schumer tees up vote on Jan. 6 commission bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE (D-N.Y.) moved on Tuesday to tee up a vote on the House-passed bill to create a commission probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The move will allow Schumer to hold a vote on the bill before the Senate leaves for a week-long Memorial Day recess at the end of the week, though he hedged slightly on Tuesday night as a "potential vote this week."

To overcome the initial hurdle the bill will need 60 votes, including 10 GOP senators, support it doesn't have a clear path to achieving as Republicans have largely hardened in opposition to the House-passed bill.

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"We all know the commission is an urgent, necessary idea to safeguard our democracy," Schumer said on Tuesday night. "We have to get it passed. Each member of the Senate is going to have to stand up and decide: Are you on the side of truth and accountability or are you on the side of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE and the big lie?"

The earliest the bill will be available for an initial vote is Thursday, absent an agreement from senators to speed things up. The Senate is currently in the middle of an intense debate over legislation aimed at combating China's competitiveness, but Schumer also began to wind down that bill on Tuesday night paving the way for the Senate to move on to the January 6 legislation.

The bill passed the House last week with the support of 35 GOP lawmakers.

But, absent significant shifting, Senate Republicans appear poised to make the bill their first filibuster of the 117th Congress.

Only two GOP senators have said they will vote for the House bill: Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill MORE (R-Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Eugene Goodman to throw out first pitch at Nationals game MORE (R-Utah). Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua MORE (R-La.) has indicated that he's inclined to support the bill but hasn't said how he will vote.

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Republicans are pointing to two hang ups in the bill as drafted: Concerns that it would allow Democrats to hire all the staff even though membership of the panel would be evenly split and skepticism that it wouldn't be extended into 2022 even though the bill includes an end-of-year cutoff date.

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals Collins says infrastructure bill won't have gas tax increase or undo 2017 tax reform bill What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship MORE (Maine) is circulating potential changes to the bill aimed at addressing the GOP concerns. Democratic Sens. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE (Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals Ocasio-Cortez: 'Old way of politics' influences Manchin's thinking The Memo: Democratic tensions will only get worse as left loses patience MORE (W.Va.) also urged Republicans to work with them to find a way for the bill to pass the Senate.

But those efforts are struggling to sway GOP senators, who have lined up behind Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE's opposition to the House bill. 

Asked if there were changes that could be made that would change his opposition, McConnell made it clear on Tuesday that there wasn't and that he views the proposal as political.

"I think, at the heart of this recommendation by the Democrats is that they would like to continue to debate things that occurred in the past. They'd like to continue to litigate the former president into the future. ...So I think this is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information," McConnell said.