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Trump supporters on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House vote on Wednesday to approve a Jan. 6 commission is a sugar high about to confront the reality of a Senate comedown.

What we're hearing: Axios spoke with a series of Republican senators and as of now, it's hard to see a plausible pathway to getting the necessary 10 GOP votes in the Senate to approve a panel. This, despite 35 Republican votes in favor in the House.

  • Most Senate Republicans embraced the cover Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave them early Wednesday during floor remarks.
  • He laid out the reasons why he opposes the bill, and members of his caucus adopted the talking points the rest of the day.
  • This is true even among some of the Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection — such as Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).
  • Others, like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — all of whom also voted to convict Trump — are withholding judgment on a commission.

The main public argument against one: It would be duplicative of and distracting to other ongoing investigations being conducted by the FBI, Justice Department and congressional oversight committees.

  • Others say it will take too long to set it up, and an investigation will spill into 2022 — an election year.
  • A private argument is that it's going to be a political mess for the GOP and could jeopardize Senate seats next year.

Of course, this could all change, especially given the House support of the bill.

  • Just 41 GOP senators — the minimum needed to block approval — could force adjustments making it more palatable for them.

What the senators who voted to impeach Trump are saying:

  • Burr, who is retiring in 2023, told Axios he's against the commission. He "always believed that investigations were better focused within the committees of jurisdiction."
  • Sasse told Politico he's "reserving judgment," on how he'll vote but added: "A lot of the jabbering in the House — for and against this thing — seems like thinly veiled midterm strategy.”
  • Collins told reporters she would support a commission but thinks the House bill needs changes, such as ensuring both parties can hire commission staff, and a pledge to wrap up the investigation by the end of this year.
  • Romney said, “I'll look at the legislation and decide whether it's adequate and truly bipartisan. But I do support the object of the commission."

The bottom line: "I think the concern a lot of our members have is that it's just going to end up being used politically — politically weaponized — and that they'll try and drag it out to next year, so they can use it in election year," Senate GOP Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told Axios.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas House advances voting bill that Democrats fled state to protest

The Texas state Capitol is shown during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas House Republicans gave final approval to a slate of new voting restrictions on Friday following months of protests by Democrats, including a 38-day walkout, the Texas Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Friday's vote brings Texas one step closer to enacting voting restrictions — making it set to be the latest big Republican state to pass tighter voting laws following the 2020 election, per AP.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.