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The bill would set aside $ 200 million for a rapid reaction force in support of the Capitol Police, which will receive body cameras for the first time. The bill also includes millions of dollars in psychological aid and overtime for a Capitol Police that was long understaffed and still affected by the deaths of several officials after the uprising. One officer, Howard Liebengood, died of suicide in the days following the attack, and the bill would rename the Capitol Police wellness center for him.
The legislature is also promoting a non-partisan commission to investigate the events leading up to the attack. This plan is supported by the GOP’s lead negotiator on the matter, but not by Kevin McCarthy, the minority chairman of the House of Representatives, who is still arguing that the scope of the panel should be expanded beyond the January 6 attack.
The two most important developments conclude an intense week in the house in which unhealed wounds from the siege of the Capitol were torn open. Some Republicans downplayed the uprising in public comments as lawmakers embarked on bitter confrontations. Some Democrats are looking at the commission and the security bill debate to test whether members of the House of Representatives have a chance to move forward together after the attack, or whether the partisan rift will only worsen.
“It is imperative that we seek the truth about what happened on January 6th with an independent, bipartisan 9/11 commission to investigate and report on the facts, causes and security surrounding the terrorist attack,” said spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi in a statement.
The January 6th bill to set up the commission could have its say “as early as next week,” Pelosi announced on Friday, noting that the panel was modeled on a bipartisan study of events leading up to the September 11th terrorist attacks. That vote is likely to be followed by the Emergency Funding Bill, as Democrats hope to pass both of them before leaving for Memorial Day recess.
The Democrats are pushing their response to the Capitol attack afterwards Months of deadlock and partisan sniping that stalled advances in security finance and commission.
And while McCarthy said on Friday he didn’t officially sign the commission agreement, the deal between House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) And senior member John Katko (RN.Y.) contains some important ones Concessions to Republicans.
The proposed 10-person commission for the changes sought by the Republicans provides for an even distribution between the members elected by Republicans and Democrats. It also ensures that members of the commission can only issue subpoenas. The commission can only issue summons with a majority of votes or by agreement between its chairman and the deputy chairman. Democrats choose the chair. The report is due at the end of the year.
McCarthy and other Republicans wanted the commission to investigate the violence of the left, but its focus will be limited to the January 6 attack and the factors that led to it.
The GOP leader told reporters Friday morning that he had not seen details of the agreement and therefore did not officially sign it, reiterating that he did not want the commission to focus solely on the January 6 siege.
“I know Nancy Pelosi was doing politics for a few months. You have to look at the setup beforehand and what happened afterwards, ”said McCarthy.
Katko, who led the negotiations for the Republicans, was one of several GOP lawmakers who pressed immediately for this type of assignment to learn how the mob stormed the Capitol. The New York Republican was also one of ten GOP lawmakers in the House who voted to indict Trump over his role in the attack.
In a statement, he appeared to address concerns of fellow Republicans that the commission will continue to address issues beyond Jan. 6.
“Unfortunately, the Capitol remains a target for extremists of all ideologies, as we saw during the April 2 attack that killed a Capitol policeman,” said Katko. “So we have to do everything we can to ensure that something like this can never happen again.”
Democrats can continue to go ahead without McCarthy’s explicit support, as several other House Republicans – including those who voted for impeachment – are expected to support it on the ground.
“Inaction – or just moving on – is simply not an option. Creating this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the US Capitol,” Thompson said in a statement.
Democrats are also likely to be able to pass the Security Funding Bill even if they don’t get help from Republicans. But it could be difficult: before the bill was released, some Democrats raised concerns about the elements of the lengthy bill.
That includes a small number of Democrats like Rep. Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.) who have wondered if the Capitol Police should have more oversight before receiving such a massive infusion of money.
Pelosi first announced plans for a commission in February, but Democrats and Republicans spent months negotiating the terms. The two parties had repeatedly argued over what this commission should look like, from the composition of its membership to the subpoena to whether it should extend the scope beyond January 6th.
Two decades ago, the September 11th commission’s sweeping findings became the basis for government-wide reforms in response to Al Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. The appetite for such reforms in Congress after the Capitol attack is more complicated, however, as many GOP lawmakers stand behind Trump and some downplay the violence in the Capitol that day. One lawmaker, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), Compared the mob’s behavior this week to “a tourist visit.”
Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.