Senator Collins’ optimistic Senate will approve the Jan.6 commission, but strong divisions remain.
On Sunday, Senator Susan Collins stood out from most of her Republican colleagues and said she supported the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill. And she is optimistic that the bill to create the commission, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives, could be approved in the Senate if certain key changes are made. “I strongly support the creation of an independent commission. I think there are many unanswered questions about the attacks on the Capitol on January 6. ” Collins said on ABC This week. Last week, 35 Republicans joined Democrats in the House to endorse the bipartisan commission to examine the riot.
Collins said she had two “settable” issues with the bill passed by the House. One is to set a deadline for the commission to complete its work by the end of the year and the other is to ensure that the staffing of the commission is truly bipartisan. “There’s a lot of time to get the job done,” Collins said. “And I am optimistic that we can overcome these problems based on the conversations I have had with the Speaker of the House and the House majority leader.”
Further talks on Sunday’s talk shows, however, showed that there were still deep divisions among Republicans over the commission and that the numbers, at least so far, appear to be stacked against the Democrats. Only four Republican senators have so far expressed any degree of possible support for the committee, while 25 have expressed opposition and 21 have not taken sides, according to the Washington Post. Democrats would need 10 Republicans to back the Senate committee to avoid a possible filibuster.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has previously said he opposes the commission and some seem confident his point of view will eventually win out among Republicans. “I believe Republicans in the Senate will decide that it is too early to create this committee,” Senator Roy Blunt, the No. 4 Republican in the Senate, said on Fox News Sunday. Blunt said that rather than focusing on the commission, Congress should focus its energies on the issue of training Capitol Hill police officers. “Is the priority to secure the Capitol, to do what we need to do to better train, better prepare the Capitol police, to decide what we want to do in the future?” He asked. “Where is the priority to take, which in my opinion will be in a few years, in deciding what happened inside the White House.”
In an illustration of the strong divisions that remain among GOP lawmakers, Representative Adam Kizinger criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for not being honest about what happened on January 6. Republicans and the American people, and it pains me to say it and it’s not like I like to stand up and say this, ”said Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Donald. Trump, Fox News Sunday. He also warned that if Senate Republicans reject the independent commission, it could end up having unintended negative consequences for their party. “What’s going to happen if this thing fails is Nancy Pelosi will head a select committee and that could go until 2024,” Kinzinger said. He also warned of the electoral consequences midway through 2022 “if we Republicans don’t take charge of what happened”.
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