House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making compromises in an attempt to resurrect her effort for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol attack on January 6, but substantive talks between the two sides have yet to resume due to a disagreement about the nature of the commission’s investigation.
Pelosi said on Thursday that her new proposal addressed two of the three Republican challenges to her initial commission plan, leaving only the reach as a sticking point.
Pelosi’s decision to grant Republicans some of what they’ve demanded in the independent panel — an even number of Democrats and Republicans, as well as fair subpoena power — re-emphasizes the most important reason the talks have stalled: the lack of progress. Republicans argue the commission should also look into the violence perpetrated by far-left activists during last year’s anti-police brutality demonstrations, which Democrats say is an attempt to deflect attention away from the role played by former President Donald Trump in the lead-up to the uprising.
“If we can come to agreement on the first two, why do they object to the scope, which is to find the truth of what happened on January 6?” she said. “Our purpose is to find the truth for that. It’s not about investigating one thing or another that they may want to draw interest.”
Republicans, on the other hand, dismissed Pelosi’s overture this week, claiming they haven’t seen any new proposals yet, which they interpret as a sign the California Democrat isn’t serious about reaching an agreement.
“She hasn’t responded to us or talked to us, so it’s still a long way away,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday. “I think if anything is going to happen, she’s going to have to talk with us instead of saying she’s talking to some Republicans. We don’t even know if they’re elected who she is talking to.”
Republicans argue that the independent panel should look into the violence that has erupted in the aftermath of police brutality protests in the past year, especially violence perpetrated by the left-wing extremist organization Antifa.
“I think there’s a lot of things that happened. It’s not just on January 6,” McCarthy said. “We had on Good Friday an officer get killed. I think if you’re going to have a commission you should look at the whole broad spectrum. We just went through a whole summer of riots throughout this city. We should grasp that as well.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed the sentiment at a press conference this week.
“The scope of it, they have to deal with a little bit broader than just January the 6th,” McConnell said. “We’ve also had a number of violent disturbances around the country last year. And I think we have to look at this in a broader scope, and with a totally balanced, 9/11-style commission. If she were willing to put that forward, I think it would enjoy broad bipartisan support.”
The two Republican leaders’ remarks, in which they say they have yet to talk with Pelosi about the plan, highlight how far apart the two parties are on the commission proposal — not to mention the fact that they aren’t sitting down directly.
“I have gotten nothing from her,” McCarthy said of Pelosi. “Leader McConnell has received nothing from her. She was even in my office yesterday. She could have dropped the letter off. Nothing. So, I’m not quite sure who she’s talking to or what she’s talking about.”
Asked Thursday why Republicans said they hadn’t heard from her on the new proposal, Pelosi said that “some Republicans have.”
“Don’t be concerned about it,” she said. “One move at a time,” says the narrator.
Democrats say that the GOP’s insistence on looking into Antifa is an indication that they don’t want a commission to look into pro-Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol after Trump repeatedly said the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Pelosi’s proposal for an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurgency, which she first suggested in February, had stalled in recent weeks, and she had floated the idea of a congressional select committee as an alternative. Pelosi, on the other hand, sent a letter to lawmakers last week announcing a new plan to Republicans in an attempt to move the topic forward.
After Republicans objected to her original plan, which would have been a seven-to-four split for Democrats, CNN announced Tuesday that the revised proposal had an even number of representatives appointed by Democrats and Republicans.