President Nancy Pelosi has made it clear on several occasions that creating a select committee has always remained a fallback option – something that would require the support of a Democratic-led House majority to create. And a number of Democrats said on Friday they believed Pelosi would indeed create the new committee – and that the caucus would strongly support such an effort.
“This is his next move,” a senior member of the Chamber of Deputies said on Friday.
Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas who was responsible for impeachment in the second trial of former President Donald Trump, said the Senate should pass a bill creating an external commission.
“However, if this fails, Congress should create a select committee to fully investigate the causes and consequences of the January 6 insurgency,” Castro told CNN.
“I don’t think a select committee is the right way to go,” parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy told CNN last week, calling it a “Pelosi select committee.”
Pelosi’s office is reportedly not discussing her plans, but the California Democrat has repeatedly indicated that her preference will be to create a bipartisan outside commission and that a select committee remains a clear option on the table. It could create a turf war with existing House committee chairs, but Democratic lawmakers played down that likelihood on Friday given their caucus’ desire to conduct a sprawling investigation into what happened.
In a statement Friday after Republicans succeeded in obstructing the bill to create the commission, Pelosi signaled that the job was not finished.
“By honoring our responsibility to the Congress in which we serve and the country we love, Democrats will pursue the search for the truth,” Pelosi said.
Republicans said Friday they recognized it as a likely next step. Senate Republicans who opposed the commission said that if Pelosi took that path, it would be easier to claim that such an investigation would be intended to help Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.
Yet other Republicans have said they are perplexed that their colleagues will not approve of a bipartisan commission, arguing that their party is giving up control to Democrats, who are almost certain to mount an investigation that makes the newspapers on everything that happened on January 6th.
“Without this commission, there will always be an investigation,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana who voted with five other Senate Republicans to put the measure up for debate. “But it will be a select House committee set up by President Pelosi – the nature of which will be dictated by Democrats and will span years. “
In the Senate, two separate committees – the Rules Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee – are investigating the lack of security preparedness on January 6 and will issue a report the week of June 7. But these surveys are narrowly focused. on the response effort that day, rather than on the causes of the insurgency.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not say on Friday whether he thought his committee chairs should conduct their own investigation into the attack.
But the New York Democrat has made it clear he believes the House should move forward.
“We preferred to do it bipartisan,” Schumer said. “All Democrats voted bipartisan, but the facts have to come out,” he said when asked if the findings of a Democrat-led committee would be credible.
Ali Zaslav contributed to this story.