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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell heads to a Senate Republican Policy luncheon Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his fellow Republicans during a closed-door caucus lunch Tuesday he can't support a Jan. 6 commission in its current form, two sources familiar with his remarks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senate Republicans are bracing for a House vote Wednesday. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposes the commission but several Republicans are expected to buck leadership — making it more difficult for Senate Republicans to dismiss it.

What we're hearing: McConnell made comments to his colleagues along the lines of, "There’s 41 of us who could change this, and I think we should,” according to one of the sources. A second source confirmed the nature of the comments.

  • When McConnell finished, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) — who's retiring in 2023 — also stood up and questioned aspects of the deal.
  • The senators did not indicate the deal is DOA in the Senate, the sources said, but made clear they would want to see substantive changes.
  • Such changes being discussed more broadly among some Republicans include ensuring the panel is truly bipartisan.
  • Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who struck the deal with Democrats in the House, voted to impeach Trump — raising concerns among his fellow Republicans.

McConnell spoke publicly following the lunch and said he is "pushing the pause button" on the legislation, adding the GOP conference is “undecided."

  • He also noted the Justice Department and other congressional oversight committees are investigating the insurrection.
  • McConnell questioned whether a new commission would interfere with that work.

Between the lines: Most Republican members are wary of the commission and want to reframe the narrative away from the insurrection.

  • A prominent concern is that it could be weaponized to subpoena members.
  • There's also concerns it might alienate members of the GOP base, as well as former President Trump — who was impeached by the House for inciting the riot.
  • Alternatively, they recognize that if an investigation is going to take place, it's better to have a hand in investigating it than to allow Democrats to be fully in control.

Go deeper

House Democrats pass $3.5 trillion budget resolution

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution on Tuesday, 220-212, advancing the party’s effort to pass a sweeping economic package that would expand the nation’s social safety net.

Why it matters: Democrats now will be able to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a bill — likely later this fall — by a simple majority, tackling key priorities like health care, child care and climate change.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
3 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

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