Jamie Raskin Says Blocking of 1/6 Commission Should Bring Filibuster to 'Long-Overdue End'

Representative Jamie Raskin said the Senate filibuster must come to a "long-overdue end" after Republicans used the tactic Friday to block an independent investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Using the filibuster to cover up the truth about Jan. 6 is a scandalous abuse of power that should bring the filibuster to an immediate and long-overdue end," the Maryland Democrat told The Hill. "Until that happens, we will now have to move forward without the Senate to figure out how to create the nonpartisan, objective investigation into the events and causes of Jan. 6 that America deserves."

Raskin's statement's came after 35 GOP Senators blocked a bill, passed in the Democratic-led House, that sought to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of the Capitol riot.

The House-approved bill was modeled after the 9/11 commission and aimed to establish a 10-person committee, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, tasked with investigating the facts and circumstances of the assault. Five people died as a result of the Capitol riot, when a mob of Donald Trump supporters sought to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden's electoral victory.

Under Senate filibuster rules, at least 60 lawmakers would have needed to vote in favor of the bill for it to be passed. On Friday, only six Republicans joined all Democrats to pass the legislation, making the vote 54-35.

Jamie Raskin
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) called for a "long-overdue end" to the filibuster after GOP senators blocked an investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack. Here, Raskin speaks during a House Judiciary Subcommittee on July 29, 2020. Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

A number of Democratic lawmakers have called for the abolishment of the controversial filibuster. If eliminated, Democrats would be able to pass legislation in the Senate with a majority vote.

On Saturday, California Representative Adam Schiff tweeted: "54 yea. 35 nay. The nayes have it. Only in the United States Senate is this how democracy 'works.' Enough. Abolish the filibuster. Now."

54 yea. 35 nay. The nayes have it.

Only in the United States Senate is this how democracy "works."

Enough. 

Abolish the filibuster. Now.

— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) May 29, 2021

New York Representative Jamaal Bowman echoed that statement by tweeting that the Democratic Party will have "hell to pay" for bending to the Republicans.

"Our party will have hell to pay if we don't pass our agenda and our excuse is, 'the Republicans wouldn't let us.' We need to abolish the filibuster."

Our party will have hell to pay if we don’t pass our agenda and our excuse is, “the Republicans wouldn’t let us.”

We need to abolish the filibuster.

— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) May 29, 2021

Pennsylvania Representative Connor Lamb chimed in on Saturday, tweeting: "We have to want this government to succeed more than the GOP wants it to fail. Yesterday it failed. That can't continue. They've made us choose between protecting our Capitol & our democracy, or a procedural tool that isn't in the Constitution. The filibuster has to go."

We have to want this government to succeed more than the GOP wants it to fail.

Yesterday it failed. That can’t continue.

They've made us choose between protecting our Capitol & our democracy, or a procedural tool that isn’t in the Constitution.

The filibuster has to go.

— Conor Lamb (@ConorLambPA) May 29, 2021

Ending the filibuster looks highly unlikely, as changing the text of the Senate rule would require a two-thirds vote (with at least 17 Republicans voting in favor). But Democratic lawmakers have indicated that Friday's vote would not stop the formation of a January 6 commission.

One way would be to form a select committee in the House. Doing so would likely give Democrats the ability to investigate the violence on January 6 while using subpoena power to summon witnesses involved in the attack.

Though it is unclear at this point how Democrats would move forward with this path, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the party "will proceed to find the truth."

An alternative route to investigating the Capitol riot would be for President Joe Biden to create a presidential commission. A growing number of Democrats, including Virginia Representative Gerry Connolly, have called for this path.

"In light of the GOP's cowardly filibuster of a bipartisan Jan 6th commission I urge President Biden to form and appoint a Presidential Commission to fully investigate the insurrection of January 6th at the US Capitol," Connolly tweeted Saturday.

On Friday, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden remains "committed" to the investigation, but stopped short of outlining a specific plan.

"The president has been clear that the shameful events of Jan. 6 need to be independently and fully investigated," Jean-Pierre told reporters. "He remains committed to that and we will continue to work with Congress to find a path forward to ensure that happens."

Newsweek contacted the White House for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.