Lawmakers reach deal on bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol riot

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

The two top lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee reached an agreement Friday on legislation that would create a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The bill, authored by Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and New York Republican Rep. John Katko, is focused exclusively on the attack and not other episodes of political violence as multiple Republicans earlier insisted. Though it has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it is unclear whether Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of his caucus support it.

“I haven’t read through it,” McCarthy told reporters when asked about the bill Friday morning.

“There has been a growing consensus that the January 6th attack is of a complexity and national significance that what we need [is] an independent commission to investigate,” Thompson and Katko said in a joint statement.

The bill would create a 10-member commission, split equally among Democrats and Republicans, and include lawmakers from both the House and Senate. It mandates that each member have expertise in an array of topics, including but not limited to law enforcement, civil rights, armed forces, intelligence, counterterrorism and cybersecurity.

“It is imperative that we seek the truth of what really happened on January 6 with an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type Commission to examine and report upon the facts, causes and security relating to the terrorist mob attack,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Today, a bipartisan agreement to form such a commission has been reached, with legislation to create it set to reach the Floor as soon as next week.”

According to the bill, the commission will investigate the riot and “the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the U.S. Capitol Police.” It will also examine “the influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy.”

Republicans had argued that a commission focused exclusively on the riot would be insufficient. While speaking Friday, McCarthy called for a wide-ranging focus, citing the death of a Capitol Police officer in April after he was rammed into a barricade by a car.

The bill stipulates that the commission report its findings to Congress by the end of the year.

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