Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Josh Gottheimer, Tom Malinowski, Albio Sires, Donald M. Payne, Jr., and Bill Pascrell, Jr. were among those in the House of Representatives that voted in favor of launching an official investigation into the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection.
The legislation, which would establish a bipartisan panel under the January 6 Commission, would be designed to bring answers and accountability for the terror assault on Capitol Hill.
The final legislation features many of the elements found in the commission legislation co-authored by Sherrill and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), including ensuring the committee had equal representation for both parties, subpoena power, and the authority to investigate related domestic terrorist activities.
“I’ve fought for establishing this commission to examine the insurrection since it occurred. Along with Rep. Speier, I led the charge on a number of necessary provisions that ultimately were included in the final version, so I’m very glad to see it pass the House today with bipartisan support,” said Sherrill.
Striving for Bipartisan Support
Sherrill noted the bipartisan support for the bill and its stipulations for equal representation on the committee was encouraging, but was dismayed by the number of Republicans who voted against the measure.
“It’s painful to see so many of my colleagues continue their attempts to obstruct a full accounting of what happened. Their opposition to this commission is exactly why we need it,” she said.
A key to the passage in the House was the endorsement of the Gottheimer-led Problem Solvers Caucus, garnering the support of more than 75% of the 58-member bipartisan caucus after House Republican leaders lobbied to defeat the bill.
Problem Solvers Push
“I voted to support the bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6th Capitol attack (as) both Democrats and Republicans were attacked that day,” said Gottheimer on the House floor. “Our democracy was attacked that day. It’s up to all of us—both sides of the aisle—to ensure it never happens again.”
Another member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Rep. Malinowski highlighted the unity behind the bill’s backing and called the event “a direct attack on American democracy.”
“The commission backed by a bipartisan majority in the House today will help us to understand what led to the January 6 violence and to make sure it never happens again,” he said.
Rep. Payne agreed, saying he was proud that it would be a bipartisan commission even though Republican leadership wants to make it partisan.
“The American people deserve to know the truth and hear it from both political parties,” he said.
Rep. Spires took a more confrontational tone, saying, “It is shameful that more of my colleagues across the aisle did not come to their senses and vote for this legislation, aimed only at uncovering the truth.”
Sept. 11 Comparisons
Rep. Pascrell noted that 2021 was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, which he called the “worst external terrorist attack” in U.S. history. However, he called the January 6 riots the gravest attack ever on American democracy.
Pascrell leaned into the history of the 9/11 commission, and argued it should be used as a template for the new investigation.
“Like the 9/11 commission it is modeled after, this commission must hold allegiance only to truth. A full investigation of this attack must reflect on how the spark of insurrection was ignited and who fanned the flames,” he said.