May 28 (UPI) — GOP senators blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in a procedural vote Friday, ending the chance for a final vote on the legislation.
Ten Republicans were needed to break a filibuster so the bill creating the commission could be considered for a final vote. Only six GOP senators voted to consider the legislation. The final vote was 54-35, falling short of the 60 votes needed.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and a group of Republican conservatives struck a deal to allow a Friday vote on the bill before senators left Washington for the Memorial Day recess. The procedural vote was needed to end the GOP filibuster.
Schumer called the deal for a vote a “good solution” because senators would get to vote on the commission “in the light of day, not at 3 in the morning.”
Republicans voting to allow a final vote on the bill included Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rob Portman of Ohio.
Schumer said Republican lawmakers voted against the commission because of “fear or fealty to Donald Trump.”
He said the Republican minority had prevented the Senate from even debating the bill.
“This vote has made it official. Donald Trump’s big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican party. Trump’s big lie is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln,” Schumer said.
“Shame on the Republican party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” he added.
The attack followed an incendiary speech by Trump at a nearby rally, calling for those gathered to protest the 2020 election results at the Capitol, where the election of President Joe Biden was being certified.
Trump had encouraged senators to block the proposal and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had called it a “purely political exercise.”
Cassidy said in a statement that he voted to allow a vote on the commission because “the investigations will happen with or without Republicans. To ensure the investigations are fair, impartial and focused on facts, Republicans need to be involved,” he said, as reported by CNN.
He said the legislation ensured the GOP had equal power over the panel. Cassidy said he doesn’t think a Democrat-run investigation in the House would evaluate the lack of adequate security during the Capitol riot.
Murkowski said the GOP leadership’s opposition to the Jan. 6 commission is a purely political move by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“It would be appropriate to have further evaluation of what happened on Jan. 6, and who’s responsible, and how we can prevent that from happening again.” Romney said, according to CNN.
The House-passed legislation would have created a 10-person panel to determine what happened on Jan. 6, including the Capitol Police’s preparedness on that day and make recommendations to prevent future acts of violence against Congress.
The Capitol riot left five people dead and about 140 officers injured.