Jan. 6 Commission to Release Final Report on Capitol Riot by End of 2021

The House Homeland Security Committee agreed Friday to form a bipartisan commission to investigate January 6 Capitol riot, the Associated Press reported.

The commission must have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, with five each. It would have subpoena power and is expected to submit a final report by December 31 as well as provide recommendations to prevent future attacks.

"It is imperative that we seek the truth of what 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," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Trump Supporters in DC
Supporters of then-President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Pelosi said the legislation could be considered by the House "as soon as next week," along with a spending bill to pay for security improvements to the Capitol. Lawmakers are considering how to toughen security after hundreds of President Donald Trump's supporters pushed past police on January 6, broke in through windows and doors and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives. The commission bill also needs Senate approval.

For months, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been at odds over the scope and makeup of the commission with GOP leaders—including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell—saying the investigation should focus not just on the January 6 insurrection, but also on violence after the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

It's unclear how many Republicans will vote for the commission. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after the announcement that he had not read the details yet and did not signal whether he would support it.

The insurrection is an increasingly fraught subject in the House GOP conference. While almost every Republican member condemned the violent mob that day, and many criticized Trump for his role in egging them on, a growing number of them have downplayed the attack as time has gone on. At a hearing investigating the siege this week, several members denied that there was an insurrection at all.

The House impeached Trump one week after the insurrection for telling his supporters to "fight like hell" in a speech just before the attack. The Senate acquitted him in February.

Like the 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks on the U.S. a decade ago, the commission will granted authority to issue subpoenas to secure information to carry out its investigation, but it requires the agreement of both the chairman and vice chairman of the commission, or through a majority vote.

House Homeland Security Chairman Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said lawmakers "owe it to the Capitol Police" to conduct a thorough investigation of the attack.

"Inaction—or just moving on—is simply not an option," Thompson said. "The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol."

Thompson negotiated the bill with Republican John Katko of New York. Katko was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January.

Bipartisan Commission to Investigate Capitol Riots
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2021. Susan Walsh/Associated Press