A week after the Capitol insurrection, Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced a bill to establish the National Commission on the Domestic Terrorist Attack Upon the United States Capitol (HR 275), which is virtually identical to the bill that Pelosi and McCarthy negotiated-- through Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and John Katko (R-NY). After Trump flipped out and demanded that Congress reject the proposal, McCarthy and Scalise started whipping against it, even though they promised their members that they would do no such thing and that the vote would be up to each member's conscience.
Davis had 4 original co-sponsors: Katko, Jim Comer (R-KY), Jim Banks (R-IN) and Ashley Hinson (R-IA). By the end of February, there were 31 cosponsors, including members from all factions of the party, including neo-fascist extremists and Trump ass-lickers like Clay Higgins (R-LA), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), August Pfuger (R-TX), Kat Cammack (R-FL), and Michael Guest (R-MS) and anti-Trump conservatives like Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).
This morning, The Hill reported that "The legislation largely mirrors a proposal authored by Katko and two other top House GOP committee leaders in January that made no mention of probing other political violence."
“Katko feels like he's been thrown under the bus,” said one House Republican who knows Katko well and attended Tuesday's closed-door GOP conference meeting. “I think he feels frustrated he was given a direction to go in and had the rug pulled out from under him.”
“And there is frustration with Kevin based on the Freedom Caucus dictating which direction they want to go in.”
The GOP lawmaker estimated 30 to 50 Republicans will buck McCarthy and vote to form the commission, including the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
Katko on Tuesday defended the compromise he forged with House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), despite the opposition from his party’s leader.
“I am confident Chairman Thompson and I negotiated a solid, fair agreement that is a dramatic improvement over previous proposals that sought to politicize a security review of the Capitol. I recognize there are differing views on this issue, which is an inherent part of the legislative process and not something I take personally,” Katko said in a statement.
“However, as the Republican leader of the Homeland Security Committee, I feel a deep obligation to get the answers U.S. Capitol Police and Americans deserve and ensure an attack on the heart of our democracy never happens again.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressed frustration with McCarthy on Tuesday for rejecting the deal after Democrats accepted all three of his demands in a February letter, which asked for an equal ratio of Democrats and Republicans, co-equal subpoena power and no "predetermined conclusions."
“Leader McCarthy won’t take yes for an answer,” she said in a statement.
The commission would include 10 members with expertise in law enforcement and national security backgrounds, with each party appointing five. The commission’s members would be limited to people who are not currently serving in government roles and would be expected to issue a final report by year’s end.
Rep. James Comer (KY), the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee who helped introduce the initial January bill, said Democrats should float the names of people they might nominate to fill their five appointed slots on the commission as a way to give assurances the independent body wouldn’t be politicized.
“If I have confidence that they're going to be nonpolitical people that are going to really try to get down to the bottom of it, then I would probably support the bill,” he told reporters.
“This should be like the 9/11 commission-- not political.”
But that is exactly what McCarthy, McConnell and Trump do not want. They want a high politicized commission making outrageous assertions that the Trump camp keeps pulling out of its ass. This morning Punchbowl News reported that "Within hours of McCarthy coming out against the bill, dozens of rank-and-file Republicans were telling their leaders they were inclined to side with Katko and House Democrats, and against McCarthy, in a stunning rebuke of the California Republican’s leadership. We hear that anywhere between 20 to 50 Republicans could vote for this commission, with the total very fluid. Republicans are concerned about a “jailbreak,” in which a flood of lawmakers back the legislation en masse. The House Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed it late Tuesday, which could help bring over a dozen or so GOP votes. Behind all this internal GOP drama, of course, looms former President Donald Trump. He fomented the insurrection at the Capitol, and it's his actions -- and those of his allies and aides, including McCarthy-- that the commission is ultimately designed to look at. Trump still controls the Republican Party. Republicans-- including McCarthy-- worry about his reaction to events in the Capitol. They try to send messages to him through television interviews, and support legislation they think he’d back... Many senior GOP leadership figures understand that forcing their rank and file to vote against this bill is damaging for their most vulnerable members in the long run. It’s a tough vote to explain away-- especially when so many Republicans are on record supporting something nearly identical. But regardless, the GOP leadership started pressing their lawmakers Tuesday night to vote against the bill. Their whip notice came with a red disclaimer: 'IMPORTANT: If your boss intends to vote in favor of the bill, it is imperative that you contact the Whip Floor Team by email.'... We spoke to more than a dozen House Republicans during votes late Tuesday afternoon, and we were surprised how many were undecided, squishy or leaning toward voting for the commission. This is a bad sign for the leadership."
Tom Reed (R-NY): “I’m a true believer in getting to the bottom of that terrible day.” He told us he will be voting for it “absent something changing that I’m not aware of now.”
David Joyce (R-OH): “I’m leaning yes.”
Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) is a yes.
Liz Cheney (R-WY) is a yes.
Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) said he sympathized with McCarthy, but hadn’t made his mind up yet.
Roger Williams (R-TX) is undecided. “I want to see who’s going to get appointed. Are they political appointees or are they real appointees? What’s the endgame? Where do we want to get to? I’m still up in the air… I think a lot of guys are like me right now, on the fence.”
Rodney Davis (R-IL): “Still deciding.” Davis is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee. He and Katko introduced the Jan. 6 commission bill in mid-January that is similar to what Democrats are proposing.
Tom Cole (R-OK), ranking member on the Rules Committee, told us he was undecided.
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) is leaning no. “We need to have a much more expansive role if we’re going to do that. We, the American people. We need to look at a lot of the different things that have gone on, including the earlier riots last summer,” Fleischmann said.
Nancy Mace (R-SC) is a no despite her criticism of Trump’s actions on Jan. 6. “DOJ, FBI, and Homeland Security are all doing investigations. I’d like to see them do their job.”
Punchbowl concluded that "McCarthy is damaged by this incident, even if the Jan. 6 commission bill never becomes law. His treatment of Katko rubbed some Republicans the wrong way... We expect to hear from Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton-- the 9/11 commission co-chairs-- endorsing the Jan. 6 commission. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has used the 9/11 commission as a model for this latest panel."
Late this afternoon, the bill passed 252-175, all the Democrats and 35 Republicans, mostly in swing districts, willing to tell Trump and his McCarthy puppet to screw off. I didn't really see any startling surprises on the list. I suspect it will be close in the Senate but McConnell has a much tighter grip on his members than McCarthy does in the House and if he really wants it to fail, it will fail.