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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) rebuked Senate Republicans on Friday after the chamber failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to advance a bill creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

The big picture: Schumer said he believes the vote proves that Donald Trump's "Big Lie" has "enveloped" the GOP and that its members fear retaliation from the former president and his allies.

Context: The 10-person bipartisan commission would have been charged with studying the facts and circumstances of the Jan. 6 attack and the influencing factors that may have provoked it.

  • Six Republicans voted in favor of the commission: Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Ben Sasse (Neb.).
  • 35 Republicans supported the bill passed in the House of Representatives.

What they're saying: "But out of fear or fealty to Donald Trump, the Republican minority just prevented the American people from getting the full truth about January 6," Schumer said.

  • "The Republican minority just prevented the Senate from even debating the bill. No opportunity for amendments, no opportunity for debate," he added.
  • "The American people will see how each Republican senator voted. This should have been simple. The commission was bipartisan, independent, straight down the middle."
  • "This vote has made it official. Donald Trump's Big Lie has now fully enveloped the Republican party. Trump's Big Lie is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln."

The big picture: Schumer said he hoped Republicans will allow the chamber to debate future bills.

  • "Will our Republican colleagues let the senate debate the bill or will they engage in another partisan filibuster of urgent legislation? We will soon see," he said.

What to watch: House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) previously told reporters that Democrats would likely pursue a select committee if the bill fell short in the Senate.

Go deeper

Manchin says he's not willing to abolish filibuster over Jan. 6 commission

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday he is not willing to abolish the legislative filibuster if Republicans block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which they are set to do within hours.

Why it matters: Manchin — a crucial moderate swing vote — has blasted GOP leadership over the Jan. 6 commission and said "there is no excuse for any Republican to vote against" the bill. But his view has still not changed on eliminating or altering the filibuster, even if it prevents his party from passing key legislation.

May 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer's litmus test

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is forcing Republicans into a corner as he tries to pass his China-focused global competition bill.

Why it matters: It's important by itself but also seen by the left as a test for whether Democrats can work with the GOP on anything. If it fails to gain support, it would likely endanger future bipartisan efforts — including infrastructure talks — for the remainder of the 117th Congress.

Senate clears key procedural hurdle on sweeping China competition bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a press conference on May 25. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate voted 68-30 on Thursday to advance a sweeping China-focused global competition bill, clearing a major procedural hurdle after concerns over potential Republican opposition.

Why it matters: The bill, which faces additional debate before a vote is held on final passage, is seen as a litmus test for whether Republicans could work with Democrats on any legislation in the deeply divided Senate. The vote was held open for hours after Republicans negotiated more time to vote on amendments.