The US House is set to vote Wednesday on legislation to establish an independent commission that would investigate the violent insurrection on 6 January at the US Capitol, though it's unclear as of Wednesday morning how many Republican lawmakers will join Democrats in supporting the bill.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy came out in strong opposition to the bipartisan deal, but GOP sources familiar with the matter said that as many as 40 House Republicans could back the plan — in part because of the 29 GOP members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group that endorsed the plan Tuesday, reports the CNN.
Wednesday's vote, which comes as some Republicans have tried to downplay the violence that occurred on 6 January and align themselves with former President Donald Trump's version of reality is still likely to be opposed by most rank-and-file Republicans, after House GOP leaders mobilized against the agreement that had been struck by fellow Republican Rep. John Katko of New York.
The bill is expected to pass through the Democratically controlled House on Wednesday evening. But the margins are an important indicator because just how many House Republicans are willing to buck their party leadership may offer an early signal for how many GOP senators could back the bill. Supporters of the plan will need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to join all 50 Democrats in the chamber in order to overcome a 60-vote filibuster and pass the bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republicans on Wednesday he is opposed to the bill, according to a GOP source familiar.
In the latest sign that House Republican leadership wants the conference united behind McCarthy's opposition, Minority Whip Steve Scalise's office sent a letter to members informing them that the leadership was now advocating Republicans vote against the legislation, which was a reversal from GOP leadership's previous position to not lobby their members on the measure.
With the fate of a 6 January commission soon resting in the hands of Senate Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized McCarthy's decision to not support the 1/6 commission bill but promised on Tuesday that the legislation will get a vote in the Senate.
"This shows how difficult it is to negotiate with Republicans. If the Republican leaders are just going to throw their lead negotiators under the bus, why do they even participate in negotiations at all?" Schumer posed. "We'll see what the House vote is like, but I want to be clear, I will put the January commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote. Period."
The vote marks an end to a four-month-long stalemate over negotiations, as Republicans and Democrats struggled to agree on the focus and scope of a commission. While Democrats had wanted the commission to focus exclusively on the events leading to 6 January , McCarthy and others had suggested that the panel also investigate Black Lives Matter protests of last summer, Antifa, and the death of Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who was killed outside the Capitol in April.