House members announced a deal Friday on setting up a commission to study the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, agreeing to a panel with an even number of GOP and Democratic appointees and with shared subpoena powers.
The commission, styled after the well-received panel that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks, is ordered to issue its report by the end of this year, including recommendations for preventing a future attack.
Half of the 10-member panel would be appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, the two top Democrats on Capitol Hill. The other half would be appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, who announced the deal with Rep. John Katko, the ranking Republican, said there’s been a growing realization that the Jan. 6 attack “is of a complexity and national significance” and a national commission is needed.
“Inaction — or just moving on — is simply not an option,” the Mississippi Democrat said. “The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol.”
The idea of a commission has been floating since immediately after the attack, which saw a mob of pro-Trump supporters descend on the building, forcing a stop in the counting of the Electoral College votes that confirmed President Biden’s victory. Both the House and Senate chambers were evacuated, and officers shot and killed one protester trying to bust into the corridor that would give access to the House.
The electoral count was completed later that night
Hundreds of people who entered the Capitol without permission face criminal charges.
Mrs. Pelosi’s original vision for the commission was a more partisan affair, with Democratic appointees outnumbering GOP picks. But late last month she relented, agreeing to an even split with shared powers.
The subpoena power is the most critical of the tools the commission will have, allowing it to compel documents and testimony. Under the rules Mr. Thompson announced Friday, a subpoena can only be issued with agreement of both the Democrat-appointed chair and GOP-appointed vice chair, or by majority vote. That ensures any subpoena will be bipartisan.
Commission members are also supposed to bring experience in law enforcement, civil rights, privacy, intelligence or cybersecurity. Current government officeholders and their employees are banned.
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