On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill for a commission of the January 6 Capitol Hill riot with a bipartisan vote of 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining all of the Democrats in the House. While Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has fast-tracked the bill, Jordain Carney reported for the Hill, its chances of passing in the U.S. Senate have gotten even slimmer, now that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has come out against the commission.
Sen. Burr's vote would be notable, as he was one of the Republicans who voted to convict former President Donald Trump the second time he was impeached. The North Carolina GOP voted to censure Sen. Burr for his vote to convict.
A Thursday press release from his office included the following statement:
“As I’ve said before, the Capitol assault on January 6th was a grim day for our nation. In its aftermath, the Senate held the unprecedented impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. The Justice Department is currently conducting one of the largest federal criminal investigations in history and has already made hundreds of arrests. Congress has also been conducting multiple ongoing investigations.
“These investigations are being led by the committees with jurisdiction, and I believe, as I always have, this is the appropriate course. I don’t believe establishing a new commission is necessary or wise.
“Many called for the creation of a joint committee or commission to investigate Russian interference following the 2016 election. Leader McConnell kept the investigation with the Senate Intelligence Committee, where we already had the staff, relationships, and expertise to conduct a thorough and fact-based review. It was the right call. The investigation would not have had the same success and bipartisan support if Senate leadership had not trusted the Committee to do its job. I hope Senate Democrats have the same faith in their colleagues.”
In order for the January 6 commission bill to make its way for President Joe Biden to sign, it would need the support from at least 10 Republican senators. News reports are not hopeful it will pass. As Reagan reported on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes the commission. Axios' Alayna Treene wrote of "The Jan. 6 commission's Senate graveyard." A CNN update said Sen. Burr's opposition "all but torpedoes any hope of getting 10 Republican senators."
Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump. Those besides Burr included Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), and Pat Toomey (PA).
When it comes to a vote in the Senate, Carney explained:
It appears likely the vote will wait until after the Senate returns from a one-week Memorial Day recess. The Senate is currently debating a China competitiveness bill, with Schumer saying Thursday that it's his goal to wrap up that legislation "by the end of next week." That would leave little time for additional votes before senators head out of town.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters during his Thursday press conference "sure, next question" when asked if he would testify should he be called to do so, if it were even to become a reality. With its lack of Republican support, however, it's a pretty big "if."