National Security

McCarthy says that he will not support bipartisan deal for Jan. 6 commission

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday said he will not support bipartisan legislation for the 9/11-style commission to probe the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

“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.

This statement comes after the top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee reached an agreement last week on legislation to create the commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack that resulted in the deaths of several people, including a Capitol Police officer. 

McCarthy said he could not support the legislation because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “refused to negotiate in good faith” on the parameters of the commission and because Democrats’ “renewed focus” does not include the “political violence” in American cities, the 2017 shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice or the fatal attack on Capitol Police on April 2.

“The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked,” McCarthy wrote.

“I have communicated this to our Democrat colleagues for months and its omission is deeply concerning,” he added.

A spokesperson for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Monday that Republicans are not being urged to vote for or against the bill. But McCarthy’s opposition will likely lead to more Republicans joining him in voting against it.

Still, it’s unclear how influential McCarthy’s opposition will be with the broader conference. A number of GOP lawmakers said Tuesday morning that they remain undecided.
 
“I’ve got to see it first,” said Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), the brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, who was a top target of some of the Jan. 6 rioters. 
 
Rep. Rodney Davis (Ill.), senior Republican on the House Administration Committee, sounded a similar note. 
 
“I’m still looking at it,” he said. 

McCarthy’s opposition may make it difficult for Democrats to secure support of at least 10 GOP senators for passage in the upper chamber.

The legislation set for a Wednesday vote was negotiated by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), a moderate who voted to impeach Trump.

The proposal largely mirrors a bill introduced by House Republicans in January creating a 9/11-style commission evenly comprised of members of both parties.

Pelosi initially proposed a commission where Democrats could appoint more members than Republicans, but eventually, they made a concession to the GOP to make it evenly split.

Even so, McCarthy and other Republicans have called for expanding the commission’s scope as they have sought to downplay Trump’s role in the events of Jan. 6.

News of McCarthy’s decision on the legislation comes amid a shakeup of House GOP leadership last week. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was removed from her position as the House GOP conference chair and replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). 

Cheney’s removal from the No. 3 position came after publicly rebuking former President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riots and his unsupported claims of election fraud. 

Following her ouster in an interview with ABC “This Week” host Jon Karl, Cheney said that McCarthy should “absolutely” testify before the possible Jan. 6 commission. 

“He absolutely should and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were subpoenaed,” Cheney said in a preview clip of her interview on ABC News’s “This Week” that aired Sunday.

“I think he very clearly and said publicly that he’s got information about the president’s state of mind that day,” Cheney added.

Updated 10:04 a.m.

—Mike Lillis contributed 

Tags Bennie Thompson Donald Trump Elise Stefanik Greg Pence John Katko Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi Rodney Davis Steve Scalise
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