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Senate Republicans block creation of commission to investigate Capitol riots

A proposal to establish a commission tasked with investigating the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. died in the Senate today after passing the House last week.

With a 54-35, Senate Republicans blocked the measure from advancing to a full debate on the floor where the Democratic majority could have passed the bill on a simple majority vote. Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith voted ‘no’ on the advancement of the bill.

Authored by Mississippi Congressman & Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Bennie Thompson, the bill aimed to create a 10-member bipartisan commission—modeled after the 9/11 Commission—“to study the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy.”

In separate statements, Mississippi’s delegation expressed support for ongoing investigations into the riot that left hundreds injured and five dead, including a capitol police officer, but neither supported the formation of the commission.

“It is my view that adding a new commission to this mix would inevitably delay and distract from the productive investigations already underway,” Wicker said while referencing ongoing criminal investigations, the impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump and several other investigations.

“The shameful attack on our Capitol in January deserves to be investigated thoroughly, but this Democratic proposal would enable a politically-skewed exercise that I cannot support. There are, in fact, multiple bipartisan congressional investigations underway, including work by the Rules Committee. The Justice Department, FBI, and law enforcement are also actively pursuing the prosecution of those who broke the law as part of the January 6 riot. I support these ongoing activities and responsible efforts to improve security at the Capitol,” Hyde-Smith said.

Thompson called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his efforts to block the bill and called the action by the party “reprehensible.”

“Since the House passed the January 6 Commission Act with 35 Republican votes, Democrats have met Senate Republicans more than halfway, even as some Republican Senators continue to misrepresent this legislation. It is reprehensible to see House and Senate Republican Leaders repeatedly move the goalposts and brazenly acknowledge that they want the Commission blocked because they fear it will hurt them in the next election.

“To be clear, Senate Republicans today voted against finding the truth. They voted against the law enforcement that protect the Capitol every day. They voted against the integrity of our democracy. But we won’t be deterred – we will continue to fight to get answers so we can be sure an attack on our democracy never happens again. Doing nothing is not an option,” Thompson said.

To date, more than 400 individuals have been arrested as a result of the riot a the Capitol that led the impeachment of then-President Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.”

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