Sen. Murkowski Says She Will Back Current Jan. 6 Commission Bill

May 25, 2021 Updated: May 25, 2021

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said on Tuesday that she would back a Democrat-led bill to establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Murkowski became the second Senate Republican to publicly say she would support the bill that has already passed the House. During the House vote, most Republicans voted against the measure, with only 35 Republicans crossing the aisle to approve the bill. 

“I’m going to support it,” Murkowski told reporters when asked how she would vote on the bill if Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) bring its to the Senate floor.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Monday was the first Senate Republican to express support for the current form of the bill. Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has expressed eagerness to support the bill but would like to make changes to the House proposal.

Collins said her support is conditional on bipartisan staffing and a report issued no later than by the end of this year.

During remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer moved to file cloture on the motion on the Jan. 6 bill to set up a vote this week.

“We all know the commission is an urgent, necessary idea to safeguard our democracy,” Schumer said.

“We have to get it passed. Each member of the Senate is going to have to stand up and decide: Are you on the side of truth and accountability or are you on the side of Donald Trump and the big lie?” the Democrat leader added.

Currently, Democrats are short on the 60 votes required to defeat a likely filibuster from Republicans, who have expressed opposition to the bill in its current form.

The National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act, also known as HR 3233, is modeled after the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The proposed measure would create in the legislative branch an independent, 10-member commission to investigate “relevant facts and circumstances relating to the attack on the Capitol,” and “evaluate the causes of and the lessons learned from this attack.”

The commission must also submit reports of their findings, alongside recommendations to “improve the detection, prevention, preparedness for, and response to targeted violence and domestic terrorism and improve the security posture of the U.S. Capitol Complex.”

The bill will grant the commission powers such as the authority to hold hearings, receive evidence, and issue subpoenas. It also enables the commission to appoint staff.

Two moderate Democratic senators—Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)—expressed support for the bill, saying that a commission to investigate what happened “is a critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) previously said he would oppose the House-passed bill, characterizing the proposal as a “slanted and unbalanced” study of the Jan. 6 incident.

“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on May 19.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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