U.S. Rep. John Katko is doubling down on a deal for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, even as the GOP House leader opposes it.
Katko, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, announced late last week that he and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, of Mississippi, had reached an agreement on legislation to create a 10-member commission modeled after the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It would include five members appointed by Democrats and five by Republicans, neither of whom are currently serving in government. They would have to release their findings and recommendations by the end of the year.
But, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy came out Tuesday morning against the commission, arguing it would duplicate investigations and reviews already being conducted by several Senate committees, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol and the Justice Department, which has charged nearly 450 suspects. Many House Republicans have insisted that a commission should also examine violence during last summer’s racial justice protests, a point McCarthy agreed with.
“I absolutely respect my colleagues’ decisions to take a different point of view,” Katko said during a House Rules Committee meeting Tuesday when asked about McCarthy’s issues with the commission. “I mean, politics is not always about everybody agreeing. It’s often times about agreeing and disagreeing. That’s what we’re doing here. I’m just proud of the fact there’s going to be some Republican support for it, a considerable amount I hope.”
Katko, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 riot, continues to call the proposal a “solid, fair agreement.”
“The American people and the Capitol Police deserve answers and improvements as soon as possible to ensure nothing like this happens again,” Katko said Tuesday. “As I have called since days just after the attack, an independent 9/11 style review is critical for removing the politics surrounding Jan. 6. We all know there’s a lot of politics surrounding Jan. 6. And we’re focusing solely on the facts and circumstances of the security breach at the Capitol, as well as other instances of violence relevant to such a review. I can’t state this plainly enough. This is about facts. It’s not about partisan politics.”
Katko added the current proposal is almost identical to a similar bill for a commission that Katko and 30 other Republican co-sponsors introduced on Jan. 13.
The Biden administration said Tuesday in a statement of support for the measure that the nation “deserves such a full and fair accounting to prevent future violence and strengthen the security and resilience of our democratic institutions.”
A House vote on the commission is expected at some point this week.