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House committee reaches bipartisan deal to form commission to investigate Jan. 6 riot

Bennie Thompson
Congress Homeland Security
Posted at 10:01 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 10:03:52-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. House committee has reached a bipartisan agreement to introduce legislation to form an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), announced Friday that he has reached the agreement with ranking member Rep. John Katko (R-NY).

Thompson says he and Katko will introduce the legislation Friday. The bill, called the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act, is expected to be considered in the House as soon as next week.

The commission will be charged with studying the facts and circumstances surrounding the U.S. Capitol riot, as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the incident during the counting of the Electoral College votes, according to a press release from Thompson

Similar to the 9/11 commission, the proposed bill would establish a 10-person bipartisan commission with five commissioners, including a chair, appointed by the speaker of the house and majority leader of the Senate and five commissioners, and a vice chair, appointed by the minority leaders of the House and Senate.

The commission will be granted authority to issues subpoenas to secure information to carry out its investigation, but it will require agreement between the chair and vice chair, or a vote by a majority of commission members, according to Thompson.

The commission will be required to issue a final report by Dec. 31, 2021, with findings regarding the facts and causes of the Jan. 6 riot, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks on democratic institutions.

“There has been a growing consensus that the January 6th attack is of a complexity and national significance that what we need an independent commission to investigate. I am pleased that after many months of intensive discussion, Ranking Member Katko and I were able to reach a bipartisan agreement,” said Chairman Thompson. “Inaction – or just moving on – is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol. After all, the Capitol is not just a historic landmark, it is where our constituents come to see their democracy in action. As such, we owe it to the Capitol police and all who enter our citadel of democracy to investigate the attack. The timing of this action is particularly poignant with this being National Police Week, when we honor those who gave their lives to protect us.”