Pelosi proposes equal partisan split for Capitol riot commission

Rebecca Kaplan
·3 min read

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now proposing a new structure for a commission to study to the January 6 attack on the Capitol that would give Democrats and Republicans an equal number of commissioners, a source familiar with the draft told CBS News. 

Pelosi informed her leadership team of the new proposal Monday evening, the source said, though a spokesperson for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed again on Wednesday that Republicans have not yet received it. 

"Neither the Republican Leader nor his staff have been provided Speaker Pelosi's latest proposal, but hopefully the speaker has addressed our basic concerns of equal representation and subpoena authority," the spokesperson said.  

Pelosi told Democratic colleagues Friday she had extended a new offer to Republicans after months of stalemate between congressional leaders on the issue.   

"On this 100th day, we are determined to seek the truth of January 6th.  To do so, we must have a January 6th Commission.  To that end, we have once again sent a proposal for such a Commission to the Republicans, modeled after the 9/11 Commission," she wrote in a letter to colleagues marking the 100th day since the attack.   

The speaker's previous offer to Republicans, extended in February, would have allowed Democrats to appoint seven commissioners and Republicans, four. Pelosi, McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would each have appointed two people to the commission. President Biden would have appointed three members, including the chair. 

Either the chairperson or a majority of members on the commission would have the authority to issue subpoenas, giving control of the process to Democrats. 

Pelosi's initial offer also contained several references to domestic terrorism and instructed the commissioners to study "influencing factors that contributed to the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol and how technology, including online platforms, financing, and malign foreign influence campaigns may have factored into the motivation, organization, and execution of the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol and other targeted violence and domestic terrorism relevant to such attack." 

Republican leaders objected to both the proposed makeup of the group, and the proposed focus of the commission's investigation.   

McCarthy and McConnell have insisted from the outset that the commission be equally split between members appointed by Democrats and Republicans, citing the makeup of the 9/11 commission, which studied the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

"It both helped the effectiveness of the investigation itself and helped give the whole country confidence in its work and recommendations," McConnell said on the Senate floor in February. "This time, Speaker Pelosi started by proposing a commission that would be partisan by design."   

He also said if the panel looks beyond Capitol security itself, then it should also be examining "the full scope of the political violence problem in this country."  

"Rioting and political violence are abhorrent and unacceptable no matter what cause the mob is advancing. These are not forms of political speech," he said. "We cannot have artificial cherry-picking of which terrible behavior does and does not deserve scrutiny."   

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