Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) moved to set up a potential vote on the Democrat-led bill to establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Schumer on the Senate floor on Tuesday night moved to file cloture on the motion on the Jan. 6 bill to set up a vote this week.
“We all know the commission is an urgent, necessary idea to safeguard our democracy,” Schumer said. He continued to accuse Republicans of “sweeping” the incident “under the rug,” while thanking Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for expressing support for the bill.
“We have to get it passed. Each member of the Senate is going to have to stand up and decide: Are you on the side of truth and accountability or are you on the side of [former President] Donald Trump and the big lie?”
Currently, Democrats are short on the 60 votes required to defeat a likely filibuster from Republicans, who have expressed opposition to the bill in its current form.
The bill, known as HR 3233, is modeled after the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and passed the House with only 35 Republicans crossing the aisle to approve the measure.
The proposed measure would create in the legislative branch an independent, 10-member commission to investigate “relevant facts and circumstances relating to the attack on the Capitol,” and “evaluate the causes of and the lessons learned from this attack.”
Romney was the first Republican senator to say he would vote to support the current version of the bill, while Murkowski expressed her support on Tuesday. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has expressed eagerness to support the bill but would like to make changes to the House proposal.
Collins said her support is conditional on bipartisan staffing and a report issued no later than the end of this year.
Similarly, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has expressed that he would be open to such a commission but has not indicated how he would vote on the bill if Schumer is to bring it to the Senate floor.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) previously said he would oppose the House-passed bill, characterizing the proposal as a “slanted and unbalanced” study of the Jan. 6 incident.
“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on May 19.
When asked whether any changes could shift his position on the Jan. 6 commission, McConnell said on Tuesday that there weren’t any and that the commission was “purely a political exercise.”
“I think at the heart of this recommendation by the Democrats is that they would like to continue to debate things that occurred in the past. They’d like to continue to litigate the former president into the future,” McConnell said during a press conference.
“We think the American people, going forward, and in the fall of ’22 ought to 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. So I think this is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information. It doesn’t allow anyone to get away with anything. All of these aspects of it are being dealt with in one way or another already.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.