Washington — GOP Senator Mitt Romney of Utah indicated Monday he would support the House-passed bill establishing a commission to examine the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, breaking from other Senate Republicans who have come out against the proposal.
Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill “I would support the bill” if it were to come up for a vote in the Senate. The measure, approved by the House with backing from all Democrats and 35 Republicans, requires 60 votes to advance in the evenly divided Senate.
Calls for a 9/11-type commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol came from members of both parties in the immediate wake of the riots by the violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters. But in the months since January 6 and with the 2022 midterm elections on the horizon, Republicans backed away from the idea of a commission, taking issue with the proposed structure and scope and arguing the standing congressional committees can examine the attack and the factors leading to it.
While the bill establishing the panel was negotiated in part by Republican Congressman John Katko of New York, GOP congressional leaders last week announced their opposition to the measure, adding another obstacle to passage in the Senate, where 10 Republicans would need to join the 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week he would not support “Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal” for the commission to study the events of January 6, and House Republican leaders urged GOP lawmakers to vote against the bill.
Republicans argue the scope of the commission’s investigation — on January 6 exclusively — is too narrow and should be widened to examine protests last summer against police brutality and racial inequity that led to violent clashes with law enforcement.
The bill creates a 10-member commission evenly divided between members selected by Democratic and Republican leaders. Both sides would have equal subpoena power, and the commission is tasked with issuing a report with findings about the January 6 attack by the end of the year.
The bill passed the House last week, and it’s expected to be taken up by the Senate this week.