West Virginia’s congressional delegation voted against a select committee to explore how and why a mob of protesters surged into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, requiring the evacuation of the vice president and Congress while the presidential election was being certified.
The House of Representatives approved the committee this afternoon on a 220-to-190 party-line vote. Only two of the 211 House Republicans voted in favor of creating the panel — Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
The mob storming the U.S. Capitol disrupted the constitutional duty of counting Electoral College votes and prompted the evacuations of representatives, senators and Vice President Mike Pence. One woman was fatally shot while trying to climb into the chambers, three others died from “medical emergencies” and more than 100 police officers were injured.
The select committee is meant to broadly examine what forces led to those events and make recommendations aimed at preventing a repeat.
In May, 35 House Republicans joined Democrats to back creation of an independent commission to examine the attack. But that panel never got past a vote to debate the matter in the U.S. Senate.
Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., voted in favor of the independent panel but voted against the House special committee today.
“This is exactly what we were worried about, becoming a partisan circus that doesn’t accomplish anything or get to the bottom of what happened on January 6,” McKinley stated today.
“We supported a bipartisan independent commission for that very reason. This select committee will only be used for political purposes to go after Republicans.”
Representatives Carol Miller and Alex Mooney voted against the earlier independent committee and then voted against the House select committee today.
Miller and Mooney have been graded an “F” on a GOP Democracy Report Card by the Republican Accountability Project. McKinley is graded a “C.” The scorecard cites signing on to a brief supporting the Texas challenge of swing states’ election results, objecting to Electoral College certification of at least one state, making public statements casting doubt on the election, voting on President Trump’s impeachment and votes on creating an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Miller, R-W.Va., today contended other investigations are ongoing.
There are more than 500 prosecutions of individual participants in the Capitol siege, but the congressional committee has been meant to examine broader issues. A bipartisan Senate investigation earlier this month found a broad intelligence breakdown across multiple agencies, but the probe did not delve into the root causes of the attack.
“Our law enforcement authorities and government agencies are currently leading investigations to provide the necessary oversight to ensure that justice is served,” Miller stated.
“Once that is completed from a law enforcement and criminal justice perspective, we can explore options to ensure the events of January 6th and other violent criminal actions never happen again.”
Congressman Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., also focused on criminal prosecution of the individual actors and said the select committee would be perceived as partisan.
“I voted against Speaker Pelosi’s partisan resolution to establish a Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Capitol Attack. This resolution was not only introduced in bad faith with no real bipartisan considerations, but was also introduced at a time when there are already several ongoing investigations by federal law enforcement agencies.
“The individuals who attacked the Capitol on January 6th should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and we should allow the current investigations to be conducted without interference by a partisan committee,” Mooney stated.
On the floor of the House today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had favored the independent commission because of its capacity for greater credibility. But she said a broad investigation is crucial.
“I’m heartbroken that we don’t have the bipartisan commission,” she said. “We must go forward. It does not appear at this time we can have a bipartisan outside commission. But in the meantime, we will have a select committee.”
The panel will have subpoena power and a total of 13 members. Eight will selected by Pelosi and the remaining five by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in consultation with Pelosi. Pelosi has also signaled that she could use one of her eight picks to select a Republican.
The two Republicans who backed the select committee, Kinzinger and Cheney, also said they would have preferred the bipartisan commission to the House-led panel, but they concluded thorough examination of the January 6 insurrection remains necessary.
“Since January 6th, the courage of my party’s leaders has faded. But the threat to our Republic has not,” Cheney wrote in a statement. “On an almost daily basis, Donald Trump repeats the same statements that provoked violence before. His attacks on our Constitution are accelerating. Our responsibility is to confront these threats, not appease and deflect.”
Cheney added, “It is right to be wary of an overtly partisan inquiry. But Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814. Our nation, and the families of the brave law enforcement officers who were injured defending us or died following the attack, deserve answers. I believe this select committee is our only remaining option. I will vote to support it.”
Kinzinger similarly stated, “We need a full accounting of what happened on January 6, 2021—we need answers on who was involved in the insurrection and who played a role in orchestrating it. We need transparency and truth.”
“As I have said, I believe a bipartisan independent commission is the best approach — and although the House was able to pass the measure, it was blocked by the Senate. Today, I voted in support of the Select Committee because the truth matters.”