Jun 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House approves select committee to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol riot

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House voted 222-190 on Wednesday to create a select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Why it matters: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved forward with the creation of a committee controlled by Democrats after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have established a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack.

  • Only two House Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) voted for the select committee, whereas 35 Republicans had previously voted for the bipartisan commission.

What they're saying: "It is right to be wary of an overtly partisan inquiry. But Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814," Cheney said in a statement. "I believe this select committee is our only remaining option."

  • "The threat to our democracy is far too grave for grandstanding or political maneuvering," she noted.
  • "I want it to be fair. I want to be able to pursue all leads," Kinzinger said on CNN earlier this week.
  • He added that he would consider participating if asked, but, "I'm certain that Kevin McCarthy won't put me on it. I'm going to continue to get to the truth to the best I can anyway."

The other side: Pelosi is creating a "partisan" panel that "will not be viewed as credible by at least half of Americans, nor will it honestly look at her own failures in securing the U.S. Capitol on that day," Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who voted to impeach former President Trump and previously supported the bipartisan commission, told CNN.

When asked whether President Biden wants Pelosi to put a Republican on the committee, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said he "certainly trusts her view."

  • "The president believes certainly Republicans can act in good faith ... but he is going to of course rely on the decision of Speaker Pelosi," Psaki added.

Worth noting: D.C. Metropolitan Police officers Daniel Hodge and Michael Fanone, who were both injured while defending the Capitol from rioters, watched the vote in the speaker's box, per CNN.

  • Gladys Sicknick, mother of the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, and his partner, Sandra Garza, also attended the vote.

The big picture: The select committee will be comprised of 13 members, five of whom will be chosen after consultation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), though Pelosi has the final say as to who sits on the panel.

  • The panel, which will have the power to subpoena witnesses, will investigate the "domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex," as well as security failures and the transfer of power, according to the legislation. Pelosi will designate the committee chair.
  • There is so far no deadline for its final report, but the committee can convey interim findings and legislative recommendations.
  • Earlier this month, the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees issued a joint report on the security and intelligence failures surrounding the attack.
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