May 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin: Republican filibuster of Jan. 6 commission "unconscionable"

Picture of Joe Manchin surrounded by reporters
Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Friday said Senate Republicans' decision to vote against a bill creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riots was "unconscionable" and "the betrayal of the oath we each take."

The big picture: Manchin said in a statement on Thursday that Republicans had no excuse to vote against the Jan. 6 commission, saying they "continue to live in fear." He called the Jan. 6 Capitol riots a never-before-seen attack in U.S. history. "Not even during our nation's horrific Civil War did this happen."

What he's saying: "This commission passed the House with a bipartisan vote. The failed vote in the Senate had six brave Republicans, but that was four short of the 10 necessary to advance the legislation," Manchin said in a statement.

  • "Choosing to put politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable. And the betrayal of the oath we each take is something they will have to live with," he added.
  • "To the brave Capitol police officers who risk their lives every single day to keep us safe, the Capitol and congressional staff that work around the clock to keep Congress running, even the reporters who work hard to deliver congressional news to the American people and every American who watched in horror as our Capitol was attacked on January 6th — you deserve better."
"I am sorry that my Republican colleagues and friends let political fear prevent them from doing what they know in their hearts to be right."

Catch up quick: Moderate Democratic Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — who publicly oppose eliminating the filibuster — had pushed Senate Republicans to "find a path forward" on the commission so "our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again."

  • Manchin said Thursday that he would not be willing to "destroy our government" by getting rid of the filibuster if Republicans blocked the commission, but added, "You have to have faith there's 10 good people."

Situational awareness: The 10-person bipartisan commission would have focused on studying the events surrounding the Capitol insurrection, and evaluating what may have provoked it.

  • Only six Republican Senators voted in favor of the commission: Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Ben Sasse (Nebraska).
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