House to Vote on Creating Jan. 6 Select Committee

The resolution up for a vote outlines a 13-member investigative panel with subpoena powers. Eight members are to be named by Democrats and five with input from Republicans.,

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The House is expected to vote to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

The debate over the select committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol is all but certain to take on a highly partisan dynamic.
The debate over the select committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol is all but certain to take on a highly partisan dynamic.Credit…Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press
  • June 30, 2021, 8:21 a.m. ET

The House is expected on Wednesday to vote to create a select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, pushing ahead with an inquiry into the security failures and the origins of the mob violence after Republicans blocked the creation of an independent panel to scrutinize the assault.

Under a plan devised by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the 13-member panel would be dominated by Democratic appointees, with eight members to be named by the majority party and just five with input from Republicans. The select committee, which would have subpoena power, would investigate “the facts, circumstances and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack” by a pro-Trump mob, according to the organizing resolution slated for a vote on Wednesday.

“It was a tragedy, and the American people need to know all the facts,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, told reporters Tuesday. “That’s what this select committee is about, and I’m hopeful that our Republican colleagues will support it.”

While the measure says that five members of the panel are to be named “after consultation with the minority leader,” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the top House Republican, has not said whether he will recommend anyone. Last week, he told police officers injured in the attack that he would take the appointment process seriously.

One of Ms. Pelosi’s aides said she was considering picking a Republican who has taken the attack seriously for one of her eight slots. Many have speculated that the speaker might select Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a former member of House Republican leadership who was removed from her post after she pushed the party to hold itself and former President Donald J. Trump responsible for fomenting the Capitol riot with false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen.

Ms. Pelosi would also name the committee’s chairman. Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the head of the Homeland Security Committee, is considered a leading contender.

Republicans on Tuesday were lining up in opposition to the creation of the committee.

Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, said the Jan. 6 attack had already been investigated by existing committees, citing the work of two Senate committees that examined security failures. (That inquiry secured only limited cooperation from key agencies, including the F.B.I., the Justice Department and the House sergeant-at-arms. Other agencies failed to meet deadlines to hand over documents.)

“Let’s see where the vote goes,” Mr. Scalise told reporters, alluding to the fact that only 35 House Republicans supported the creation of an independent bipartisan inquiry. “If you look at the last vote, it was overwhelmingly opposed by Republicans.”

Republican leaders portrayed the independent investigation, which would have had an equal number of Republican- and Democratic-appointed members, as a partisan attack on Mr. Trump meant to kneecap their party in the 2022 elections. Even fewer are expected to embrace a panel with a lopsided Democratic majority.

Representative John Katko, Republican of New York, who had jointly proposed the independent commission, announced this week he would oppose the select committee, calling Ms. Pelosi’s plan a “turbocharged partisan exercise.”

Representative Mary Gay Scanlan, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said the select committee was needed to investigate both the attack and Republicans’ “new and wild claims” seeking to downplay and deny it.

She was referring to the statements of far-right House Republicans who have spread misinformation about the riot, sought to portray it as a mostly peaceful event and voted against honoring police officers who responded. One House Republican accused a U.S. Capitol Police officer of “lying in wait” to carry out an “execution” of a rioter. Another compared the events of Jan. 6 to a Capitol tour. And some have recently amplified a conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. was behind it.

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