Republicans indicated on July 21 that they may boycott a select House committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she wouldn’t accept two GOP lawmakers tapped for the panel by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Pelosi rejected Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both of whom had objected to 2020 electoral results during the joint session of Congress held on Jan. 6.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” Pelosi said in a statement.
McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill that Pelosi’s move was unprecedented.
“Speaker Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party’s pick for the select committee,” he said. “It’s an egregious abuse of power. Pelosi has broken this institution.
“This panel has lost all legitimacy,” McCarthy said.
While Pelosi said she would accept McCarthy’s other three recommendations, Republicans are likely to boycott the panel in light of her decision.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process,” McCarthy said in a statement.
GOP members said they would have fought to get answers about how ill-prepared the U.S. Capitol Police and other agencies were on Jan. 6.
“She knows that we were prepared to fight to get to the truth, to find the facts about what happened on that day, to make sure that Jan. 6 would never happen again,” Banks said.
Pelosi announced the formation of the panel after Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill that would have created a 9/11-style commission to investigate the breach. Every Democrat and two Republicans voted last month to create the select committee.
Pelosi later named seven members, all Democrats except for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Several objected to electoral votes in 2017, Republicans noted.
Pelosi gave McCarthy the opportunity to name five representatives to the committee. In addition to Banks and Jordan, McCarthy recommended Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), and Troy Nehls (R-Texas).
Pelosi said the panel was set up to “investigate and report upon the facts and causes of the terrorist mob attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
“It will also be charged with reporting its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for preventing future attacks,” she said.
No one has been charged with terrorism in the breach. More than 500 people have been charged with crimes including obstruction of Congress, assault, and disorderly conduct. One man was sentenced to eight months in jail this week for entering the Capitol and waving a flag.
Cheney told reporters outside the Capitol later on July 21 that “there must be an investigation that is nonpartisan, that is sober, that is serious, that gets to the facts, wherever they may lead.”
“And at every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened to block this investigation,” she said, adding that she backed Pelosi’s move.