Schumer rails against GOP ahead of Jan. 6 vote
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) lashed out at Republicans on Wednesday ahead of a vote on a bill to establish a commission to probe the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Schumer made his remarks as the Senate considers a bill to create such a panel, which could come as soon as Thursday. Absent significant shifting, Republicans are expected to block the bill from getting the 60 votes it needs to overcome a procedural hurdle.
“Over the last few months, a funny thing has happened. Our Senate Republican colleagues have gone from mostly supporting the idea of an independent commission to mostly opposing one, and they can’t seem to get their stories straight,” Schumer said.
“What’s really going on here? Why the various shifting reasons? … It seems the real reason has nothing to do with the structure of the commission, nothing to do with the details of the bill. It all has to do with politics,” he added.
Two Republicans have said they will support the bill: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah).
But most of the 50-member caucus has raised a myriad of objections to the bill, arguing that the commission would be politicized, raising concerns about how the staff would be hired and that it would spill past its end-of-the-year cutoff date.
The House bill, negotiated by a bipartisan duo, mirrors the language on staffing included in the 9/11 commission.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is drafting potential changes aimed at addressing some of the GOP concerns. But senators are struggling to salvage the bill.
A broader concern from Republicans is that the commission would keep former President Trump and the Jan. 6 attack in the spotlight heading into the 2022 election.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) railed against the commission, warning that he thought Democrats wanted to keep Trump in the spotlight.
“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,” McConnell said. “So I think this is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information.”
Schumer, however, warned on Wednesday that he would force a vote questioning if Republicans would “rise to the occasion.”
“Look, I’m sorry if an independent commission to study an attack on our democracy isn’t a Republican ad maker’s idea of a good time. This is too important, too important. We cannot let the big lie fester,” Schumer said.