U.S. Senate Republicans have tapped into efforts to form a bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6. assault on the U.S. Capitol, in a vote that was the latest test of Donald Trump’s enduring influence in his party.
Only six Republican senators have voted for legislation to create the modeled body after the 9/11 Commission to investigate how a pro-Trump crowd stormed the building that houses Congress.
Friday’s vote for the commission was split, 54-35, with 11 senators abstaining – nine of the abstentions were Republicans, two were Democrats. The six Republicans to support the measure were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Rob Portman of Ohio, who s united with democratic aid.
But the motion failed because Democrats were unable to break the so-called “filibuster,” an arcane Senate rule that imposes most legislation to gain the support of at least 60 lawmakers in the 100-member upper house of Congress. .
The vote underscored Trump’s strong grip on his party even as he maintains a relatively low public profile since he left office earlier this year. The former president, who has not ruled out running for the White House again in 2024, has promised to start gathering demonstrations for his fans in several major swing states as early as next month.
Democrats have been defending a commission for months to investigate what happened on January 6, when mobs of Trump supporters have stormed the Capitol, threatening the lives of lawmakers and disrupting certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. The revolts left five people, including a Capitol cleaning officer, dead.
But Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have been put on an opposition backdrop by Trump and his allies. Republican lawmakers are also worried that putting too much focus on the former president will hurt the party’s chances at the polls in next year’s midterm elections, when control of the House of Representatives Representatives and the Senate will be put on hold.
“They would like to continue to litigate the former president in the future,” Mitch McConnell, the first Senate Republican, said earlier this week, referring to his fellow Democrats.
“We think the American people, going forward, and in the fall of the 22nd, should focus on what this administration is doing to the country, and what the clear choice is that we have made to oppose most of these initiatives.” , he said. added.
But McConnell drew strong criticism from members of his own party, including Murkowski, who told reporters on Capitol Hill late Thursday that some of his colleagues “don’t want to shake the boat” with Trump, who continues. to spread the falsehood that the presidential election was rigged against him.
“We can’t pretend that nothing bad has happened, or that people have become too excited. Something bad has happened, and it’s important to put it into action,” Murkowski said.
In a statement to McConnell, he added: “To make a decision for short-term political gain to the detriment of understanding, and recognizing what was before us on January 6, I think we need to look at it critically.”
Murkowski is one of a handful of Republican lawmakers who have emerged as vocal critics of the former president. In the House, Liz Cheney, the Wyoming deputy and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was hunted from his leadership role earlier this month over his resignation from the former president.