Senate GOP Appears Ready to Filibuster Over Jan. 6 Commission

The Senate appears headed for its first filibuster fight of the year over a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, The Hill reported on Tuesday.

The likely defeat of the bill is reviving frustration over the 60-vote legislative filibuster, which many Democrats have said they want to “abolish.”

The bill, which could come up for a vote as soon as this week, appears bound to fail after a growing number of Republican senators have committed to following Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to the legislation. If successful, it would be the first time the GOP has deployed the Senate rulebook to block a bill Democrats regard as a priority.

At least 10 Republicans would need to vote with the Democrats for the bill to pass the Senate

Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii argued in a tweet that “Filibustering a bipartisan commission regarding the January 6 insurrection is a three dimensional way to make the point that the filibuster is primarily a destructive force in American politics.”

The filibuster has largely been a non-factor for the first part of the Biden administration, as Democrats have used reconciliation to narrowly pass a $1.9 trillion infrastructure package and the Senate focused on smaller, bipartisan bills and on nominations, which can pass without Republican backing, according to The Hill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to bring the bill to the floor “very soon,” adding: “I’m sorry that some Republicans believe that a bipartisan investigation of the attack on our democracy is inconvenient for the midterm campaigns, but the Democratic-led Senate … is not going to sweep January 6 under the rug. We’re going to vote on the January 6 commission in the Senate, and the American people will see where every member stands – on the side of truth or on the side of Donald Trump’s big lie.”

Republican senators say they expect the House bill, which 35 GOP members voted for, will fail to pass the Senate.

The two biggest sticking points for Republicans revolve around how staff would be hired and the timeframe, as the GOP fears the commission could be dragged out and used as a weapon before the midterm elections. 

But Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump for allegedly inciting violence, told ABC News she was “optimistic” the Senate could overcome its differences and reach a deal on establishing a commission.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., another one of the seven who voted to convict, announced he would oppose the House bill, arguing it would undercut an ongoing Senate probe, The Hill reported.

Although the bill includes language that would dissolve the committee by the end of the year, Republicans are wary.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., said: “The process has been hijacked. I think it’s a moot issue from my perspective because we can just do this through the standing committees.”

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