(USA Features) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he does not favor the creation of a ‘9/11-style’ commission to look into the origins of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building if its members are not empowered to also look into leftist-driven rioting and violence throughout much of 2020.
The agreement to form the commission was negotiated by Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Ranking Member John Katko, R-N.Y., last week, meeting just one GOP demand, that it includes equal representation by both parties.
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However, the agreement did not include another GOP demand — that any panel formed also examine violence that occurred throughout the summer and fall of last year, well in advance of the Jan. 6 incident.
As such, McCarthy, R-Calif., said he can’t endorse the agreement.
“The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked. I have communicated this to our Democrat colleagues for months and its omission is deeply concerning,” he added.
“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,” he said.
McCarthy’s opposition to the agreement is noteworthy, given that he empowered Katko to negotiate on behalf of the House Republican caucus. As such, it’s possible that the commission could still be created but strictly along partisan lines, and since Democrats control the chamber, the legitimacy of the panel would be questioned from the outset, Fox News reported.
McCarthy’s opposition comes as the House Rules Committee is set to consider the legislation.
“I still have serious concerns about this legislation. First and foremost, I’m concerned about the scope of the commission,” Ranking Member Tom Cole, R-Okla., said.
“The events of Jan. 6 did not emerge in a vacuum. Instead, that even is part of a broader wave of violence that has accompanied increasing coarsening of politics over the last several years, and worsening since the COVID-19 pandemic.,” he continued.
“Given that many events are inextricably linked, it makes sense to grant… capability to look more broadly at the political violence in this country, including widespread violence of last summer and previous attempts to attack members of this body.”