Collins ‘optimistic’ Jan. 6 commission can pass Senate with modifications
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Sunday said she was “optimistic” Democrats and Republicans could reach a compromise on a bill to establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol but that changes needed to be made to the House-passed legislation.
Collins told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” that she believed there would be enough Republican support for the bill to pass, despite opposition from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others in GOP leadership.
“I’m optimistic that we can get past these issues based on recent conversations I’ve had with the Speaker of the House and the House majority leader,” she said.
Despite sharply criticizing her GOP colleagues over blocking the proposes Jan. 6 commission, @GStephanopoulos presses Sen. Collins on new caveats to voting on it: “I don’t see why the report cannot be completed by the end of this year.” https://t.co/WTOoh8gB9r pic.twitter.com/CTnQos2wbx
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 23, 2021
Collins said she wants to see two changes to the bill that passed the House last week with support from all Democrats and 35 Republicans. The House-passed bill calls for Democrats and Republicans to appoint an equal number of members to the commission, but Collins wants that bipartisanship to extend to commission staff as well. Staff should be either jointly appointed by both parties or staffed in equal numbers by both sides, she said.
The Maine Republican also said that she would want a guarantee that the commission’s work would conclude before the end of the year, a sign Republicans are worried the commission could be used by Democrats to politically damage their foes should the probe stretch into 2022.
“I strongly support the creation of an independent commission. I believe there are many unanswered questions about the attacks on the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Collins, one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict former President Trump in his impeachment trial, said.
Collins’s comments come as some doubt remains as to whether Democrats could find the necessary 10 Republican defections required to pass the legislation, a prospect that grew less likely with McConnell’s announcement of opposition last week.
“I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6,” McConnell said Wednesday, adding that the decision came “after careful consideration.”