House Advances 1/6 Commission, Despite 175 Republicans Voting Against

175 House Republicans voted against a proposal to create an independent commission to investigate the violent January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, despite bipartisan negotiations to craft the legislation.

"What's going to happen with the January 6 commission is the media will use this to smear Trump supporters and President Trump for the next few years and cover up the real damage happening to the people this country, which is tearing down our economy, ripping our borders wide open and hurting this country," U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who was one of only few members to speak out against the commission on the House floor during Wednesday's debate.

Some conservative Republicans and Trump allies had pushed for a broader scope for the panel to include unrelated riots that broke out in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests last year.

Former President Donald Trump, in a written statement a day before the House vote, called the proposal a "Democrat trap" and urged Republicans to reject it.

The final vote was 252-175, after 35 Republicans sided with Democrats in favor the commission's creation.

Republicans vote against January 6 riot commission
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Five people died after the riot, including a police officer, and more than 140 officers were injured after hundreds of Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden's election. The attack forced members of Congress and staffers into hiding, and then-Vice President Mike Pence, who was overseeing the joint session of Congress, had to be whisked to safety. Congressional panels have been holding hearings on the delay in deploying National Guardsmen as back up to the overwhelmed law enforcement officers on duty that day and other aspects of the attack. More than 400 rioters have been arrested.

The commission, which would be split evenly among Republicans and Democrats, would review the intelligence breakdown, what led to the riot and how the government responded. The legislation, modeled after the independent commission formed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, directs the panel to submit a final report by the end of the year.

"After the attacks on 9/11, Congress recognized the importance of establishing a bipartisan commission to investigate these brazen acts of terrorism," said U.S. Representative John Katko, a New York Republican who led the GOP's negotiations on the bill at leadership's direction. "This body recognized the need to find the truth and help all of us understand how these heinous acts that not only forever changed our country but also the entire world could have been carried out."

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, lashed out at Republicans opposed to the proposal during the floor debate.

"We have people scaling the Capitol, hitting Capitol Police with lead pipes across the head, and we can't get bipartisanship...What else has to happen in this country?" he said, gesturing toward Republicans. "We need two political parties in this country that are living in reality—and you ain't one of them."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, noted that the majority had conceded to several demands from Republicans in negotiations over the proposal, including an even bipartisan make-up.

"It is imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6, and to do that, Congress must in a spirit of bipartisanship and patriotism establish an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type commission," she said.

The legislation would need support from at least 10 Republicans in the U.S. Senate for final approval under current rules, which appears unlikely. U.S. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who has previously spoken against Trump's role in the insurrection, announced his opposition to the commission Wednesday, claiming it would be redundant and unnecessary.

"There is, has been and will continue to be no shortage of robust investigations," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. "The facts have come out and they'll continue to come out."

U.S. Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who sided with Democrats in the vote to impeach Trump after the riot, was a rare GOP member who vocally supported the need for an independent commission on Wednesday.

"Nearly five months later, we still don't have the answers to the basic questions, who knew what, when, what did they do about it," he said.