Another Vote To Authorize Jan 6 Commission Called For By Manchin

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is now calling for a second vote in the Senate on a bill to create an independent commission tasked with investigating the January Capitol riot. Recently, Senate Republicans blocked that bill, despite the fact that 35 House Republicans had voted in favor of it. Only six of the upper chamber’s Republican members backed the proposal, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leading the rest in arguing that the bill was supposedly some combination of unnecessary and too politicized.

Senate Republicans were able to block the bill to create that commission because of the chamber’s filibuster rules, which demand the agreement of 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward at all on most legislation. It’s a procedural mechanism that allows McConnell and other Republicans to stop many bills from ever even getting a final vote on their passage. Manchin continues to maintain his support for the filibuster, arguing for the importance of preserving bipartisan order, but he did comment as follows, discussing the riot investigation proposal:

‘I’m not saying that one’s dead either. I’m not saying that one’s dead either, you know? I was very disappointed. I think it was wrong what [McConnell] did, and I’ve said that. He knows how I feel about that. And they looked at it as truly political. I did not look at it as political from that standpoint, I looked at it as our country coming back together… It was totally everything they asked for. It was totally bipartisan. I think Nancy Pelosi was very gracious in what she had offered, basically making it totally bipartisan. Chuck Schumer said, ‘Ok, I’ll do the same.’ Everything was done in the most bipartisan way.’

Elaborating on his belief that the proposal isn’t “dead,” Manchin also insisted that Democrats should “give it another shot.” Since Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has indicated that he’d have supported the independent commission if he’d been present for the vote (he wasn’t), then Democrats would need three additional Senate Republicans on their side to overcome the McConnell-led opposition to the proposal. Assuming that all Democrats vote in favor, that would bring the number of Senators in support of moving forward on the legislation to 60, as procedurally required.

Notably, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has already said that he is keeping the option open of bringing the commission proposal up for another vote. Schumer wrote after Republicans first blocked the measure that “Senators should rest assured that the events of January 6th will be investigated,” adding that “as Majority Leader,” he “reserve[s] the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time.”