WASHINGTON D.C. — Rep. Peter Meijer (R–Grand Rapids) and Rep. Fred Upton (R–St. Joseph) were among 35 House Republicans who despite opposition from GOP leadership, supported a bill that would establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday, 252-175 to create a 9/11-style commission to independently investigate the ins and outs of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol and how to prevent something like that from happening again.
The commission would be made up of 10 members, five selected by each party, and none can be current government officials. The group would have subpoena power and would have to issue a report by the end of the year.
Despite a bipartisan deal to frame how the commission would work, Republican leaders came out against it. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–California) said in a statement, “Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker's shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation.”
Upton and Meijer are members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus. The group is made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans who work together on key policy issues, they endorsed the bill Tuesday night.
“We need the answers, not political rhetoric. That's what this bipartisan commission can provide for all of us, for our country. Let the truth shine in,” Upton said while speaking in support of the bill on the House floor.
“If we avoid confronting what happened here just a few short months ago, we can be sure that intimidation, coercion, and violence will become a defining feature of our politics for generations to come,” Meijer said.
In an interview with Meijer said it was frustrating Republican leadership didn't support the bill. "Frankly it may be an investigation that brings out tough, hard truths, that some would rather not face,” Meijer said.
As Upton did earlier this week, Meijer also criticized some GOP colleagues who have downplayed the attack in recent weeks.
“[Some] saying it was peaceful, folks were let in like tourists, that was not the case. I was in the House chamber at the time, had to be evacuated; over 140 law enforcement officials who were injured, folks were stabbed, who lost fingers and lost an eye, who had broken vertebrae. I mean this was an incredibly violent event," Meijer said.
“More so than that, it was also an attempt by force to disrupt our constitutional proceedings, to disrupt our government. If we let that go unexamined, if we let these fantasies and these fictions abound without having objective, authoritative account for the American people, in terms of what happened, then I fear we may be setting ourselves up to see a repeat of such a day or to aid and abet political violence,” he added.
The bill now heads to the Senate where it has an uncertain path forward, likely needing all 50 Democrats and 10 Republican votes to pass.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky) has already made up his mind: “I've made the decision to oppose the House Democrats' slanted and unbalanced proposal."