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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released legislation Monday to set up a select House committee to investigate the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, after Senate Republicans blocked an independent outside investigation in May. The House will hold a procedural vote Tuesday and is expected to vote on the legislation Wednesday.
The Jan. 6 insurrection was “one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The Select Committee will investigate and report upon the facts and causes of the attack and report recommendations for preventing any future assault.”
The 13-member select committee will have subpoena power, no fixed end date, and could issue interim reports as it conducts its investigation. Pelosi would appoint eight of the members and the other five would be chosen “after consultation with” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). But Pelosi “is seriously considering including a Republican among her eight appointments to the Select Committee,” an unidentified Pelosi aide told reporters for several news organizations.
If Pelosi did pick a Republican — and speculation quickly turned to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) or Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), both vocal critics of Trump’s role in fomenting the Capitol violence — that would give the panel a narrower 7-6 Democratic majority. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who helped negotiate the bill for the independent commission, took himself out of the running Monday, calling Pelosi’s alternative a “turbo-charged partisan exercise” and saying he has “a hard time envisioning a scenario where I would participate, if asked.”
Katko was one of 35 House Republicans who voted for the independent commission, along with seven Senate Republicans.
“Republican lawmakers who voted against the creation of an independent commission openly worried that its product might negatively affect the GOP in the 2022 midterm election cycle,” The Washington Post reports. “But the commission would have had a deadline of the end of this year to produce a report,” plus an even partisan split, and the House select committee is likely to work well into 2022 and could be even more politically disadvantageous for Trump and his party.