Republicans on Friday blocked a bill to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot, NBC News reports.
A vote to proceed with the resolution, which required 60 votes, failed 54-35. Only Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Lousisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins joined every Democrat to vote in favor of moving forward.
The bill previously passed the House last week by a 252-175 vote with 35 Republicans supporting it.
But the defeat on Friday ends the last hope for Congress to move ahead with a bipartisan commission.
The defeat is a bit of a surprise since House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed New York Rep. John Katko, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, to negotiate a bipartisan commisison split evenly between two parties, which he did. But McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suddenly opposed the bill.
Some in the party reportedly fear that a commission so close to the next midterm election could make Republicans look bad.
GOP, Dem Senators slam McConnell:
Murkowski slammed McConnell and members of her own party for opposing the commission.
"We just can't pretend that nothing bad happened, or that people just got too excitable,” she said. “Something bad happened. And it's important to lay that out.”
"To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us, on January 6th I, I think we need to look at that critically," she said. "Is that really what this is about? Is everything is just one election cycle after another? Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear" that "we have free and fair elections and we respect the results of those elections and we we allow for a peaceful transition of power. I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle."
Democrat Joe Manchin also called out McConnell.
"There's no excuse. It's just pure raw politics. And that's just so, so disheartening. It really, really is disheartening," he said. "I never thought I'd see it up close and personal that politics could trump our country. And I'm going to fight to save this country."
GOP gears up to oppose Dem-led commission:
Democratic congressional leaders are still expected to create a panel to investigate the January 6 attack but even some Republicans who supported the bipartisan commission said they would oppose a Democratically appointed one.
“The most likely outcome, sadly, is probably the Democratic leaders will appoint a select committee,” Susan Collins told Politico. “We’ll have a partisan investigation. It won’t have credibility with people like me, but the press will cover it because that’s what’s going on.”