House Democrats unveil sweeping response to January 6 attacks
The bill would set aside $ 200 million for a rapid reaction force to help the Capitol Police, who will receive body cameras for the first time. The bill also includes millions of dollars for mental health assistance and overtime for a long-understaffed Capitol Police force still reeling from the deaths of several officers as a result of the l ‘insurrection. An officer, Howard Liebengood, committed suicide in the days following the attack, and the bill would rename the Capitol Police Welfare Center for him.
Lawmakers are also moving forward with a bipartisan commission to investigate the events leading up to the attack. The plan has the backing of the GOP’s main negotiator on the issue, but not House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who still maintains the group’s reach should extend beyond the Jan.6 attack. .
The two major developments cap off an intense week in the House that tore the unhealed wounds of the siege of the Capitol. Some Republicans downplayed the insurgency in public comments as lawmakers engage in bitter clashes. Some Democrats see the committee and the debate on the security bill as a test of whether House members have a chance to move forward together after the attack, or whether the partisan split will only get worse.
“It is imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6 with an independent and bipartite 9/11-type commission to examine and report on the facts, causes and security related to the terrorist attack from the crowd, ”President Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
The bill establishing the January 6 commission could be presented “as early as next week,” Pelosi said on Friday, noting that the panel is modeled on a bipartisan study of the events leading up to the September 11 terrorist attacks. This floor vote will likely be followed by the emergency funding bill, as Democrats hope to pass both before leaving for the Memorial Day recess.
Democrats move forward with response to attack on Capitol Hill after months of stalemate and partisan sniping that had blocked progress on funding and the security committee.
And while McCarthy said on Friday that he had not formally signed the commission agreement, the agreement between the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) And member of John Katko (RN.Y.) rank includes some key concessions to Republicans.
In the changes Republicans are seeking, the proposed 10-person commission includes an equal split between members chosen by Republicans and Democrats. It also ensures that commission members can only issue subpoenas in a bipartisan fashion. The committee can only issue summonses to appear by majority vote or by agreement between its chairman and vice-chairman. Democrats choose the president. His report will be expected by the end of the year.
McCarthy and other Republicans had wanted the commission to investigate left-wing violence, but its focus will be limited to the January 6 attack and the factors that led to it.
The GOP chief told reporters on Friday morning that he had not seen the details of the deal and therefore had not officially signed it, reiterating that he did not want the committee to focus solely on on the siege of January 6.
“I know Nancy Pelosi played politics with it for several months. You have to look at the build-up before, and what happened after, ”McCarthy said.
Katko, who led the negotiations for the Republicans, was one of several GOP lawmakers who immediately pushed for this type of commission to learn how the mob was able to storm the Capitol. The New York Republican was also one of 10 GOP House lawmakers to vote to impeach Trump for his role in the attack.
In a statement, he appeared to address the concerns of fellow Republicans that the commission would address issues beyond January 6.
“Unfortunately, the Capitol remains a target for extremists of all ideologies, as we also saw in the April 2 attack which claimed the life of a Capitol police officer,” Katko said. “That is why we must do all we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”
Democrats can still proceed without McCarthy’s explicit backing, as several other House Republicans – including those who voted for impeachment – are expected to back him on the floor.
“Inaction – or just moving on – is just not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the United States Capitol,” Thompson said in a statement.
Democrats will also likely be able to pass the security finance bill even if they do not gain the support of any Republican. But it could be tricky: Before the bill was released, some Democrats expressed concern about elements of the sprawling bill.
This includes a small number of Democrats, such as Representative Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.), who have questioned whether Capitol Police should have more surveillance requirements before they receive such an infusion of money.
Pelosi first announced plans to create a commission in February, but Democrats and Republicans have spent months negotiating the terms. The two parties have clashed several times over what this commission should look like, from the composition of its members to subpoena power to expanding the scope beyond January 6.
Two decades ago, the comprehensive findings of the 9/11 commission became the basis for government-wide reforms in response to Al Qaeda’s 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But the appetite for such reforms after the attack on Capitol Hill in Congress is more complicated, with many GOP lawmakers lining up behind Trump and some now downplaying violence on Capitol Hill that day. One lawmaker, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), This week compared crowd behavior to “a sightseeing tour.”
Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.