On Thursday May 27th, Republicans were urged by Democrats in the US Senate to join forces. The Democrats want Republican support in voting to support a commission. The commission is to probe the deadly attack on the Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters. The Democrats idea however, seemed to lack critical support ahead of a vote.
Need for a commission
The need for a commission was argued between senators for hours on end. Senators were also working to advance a sweeping tech bill taking aim at China. The marathon session that stretched well into the evening.
Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No 2 Democrat, said “Let’s get down to basics here. Many of the Republican members are afraid of the man who incited this. They’re afraid of Donald Trump.”
A bipartisan probe similar to the one Congress approved after the attacks back in Sep 11th 2001 is being urged by the Democrats. This time however, the probe will be reviewing the Jan 6th assault by hundreds of Trump supporters on the Capitol Building. This building is well-known as the seat of American democracy. The former president made false claims that his November election defeat was the result of fraud. The claims fired up his supporters to carry out the violent act, resulting in the death of 5 people.
There have been probes by committees and a sweeping Justice Department investigation on the Jan 6th assault. This resulted in more than 440 arrests. Authorities took action over the incident. As such, Republicans argue an additional congressional commission is unnecessary.
Republicans are also concerned that the probe into the Jan 6th violence will give Donald Trump more attention. This may have an effect on the 2022 congressional election season as well, when it starts to pick up.
House of Representatives passed the vote
All Democrats and one in six Republicans passed the vote in the House of Representatives. However, only three Senate Republicans have agreed to vote to allow the floor consideration of the measure.
The Senate’s rules require 60 votes for a bill to advance. The three Senate supporters are well short of the support of 10 Republicans to do so. The Senate is sitting 50-50 along partisan lines. Democrats back the establishment of an investigative panel.
This week, a US judge said due to the former president’s “near-daily fulminations” about his election loss, there is a risk that Trump’s supporters could carry out attacks similar to the assault on the Capitol.
On Thursday, Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Minority Leader said “The role of the former president had already been litigated exhaustively in the high-profile impeachment trial several months ago.“
“I do not believe the additional, extraneous ‘commission’ that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing.”
McConnell’s arguments scorned
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin rejected McConnell’s statement. Manchin said the Democrats are only aiming to protect Republicans from potential damage in next year’s congressional elections.
He wrote “McConnell has made this his political position, thinking it will help his 2022 elections. They do not believe the truth will set you free, so they continue to live in fear.”
In Congress, bipartisanship on various issues is one mission Manchin, from West Virginia, seeks. On numerous occasions, he has split with his own party on this stand.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House passed the bill establishing the commission. There were 35 Republicans who defied their party’s leadership and voted for the measure. US legislation requires the commission to issue a final report for this probe by Dec 31st.
28th May 2021 23:00
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