Alabama’s House congressional delegation split along party lines on the vote to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, with at least one Republican agreeing with the complaint that the panel wouldn’t consider political violence from the left.
The six Alabama Republicans were among the 175 lawmakers who voted against the creation of the commission. All Democrats, including Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham, voted for the bill.
“I cannot vote in favor of a partisan commission that will not look at all political violence against Members of Congress and Capitol Police,” Rep. Mike Rogers , R-Saks, said in a statement.
“For example, on June 14th, 2017, several of my colleagues, including Steve Scalise, were nearly assassinated at a Republican Congressional baseball practice by a radical ideologue. On April 2nd, 2021 Police Officer Billy Evans was killed in an attack at the Capitol by another extremist. Yet neither of these horrific attacks of political violence would be investigated under this legislation,” he said.
“As with the militarization of the Capitol complex, Speaker Pelosi is only interested in political theater — this useless legislation only adds to it.”
The other Alabama Republicans who voted against the proposal were Reps. Jerry Carl, Barry Moore, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks and Gary Palmer.
Other Republican opponents, including former President Donald Trump, complained that the commission wouldn’t include other acts of violence, mainly those associated with the political left.
“It is just more partisan unfairness and unless the murders, riots, and fire bombings in Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, and New York are also going to be studied, this discussion should be ended immediately,” Trump said in a statement released Tuesday night.
“Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left. Hopefully, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are listening!”
They were listening, or at least agreed, as Rep. McCarthy, R-California, the GOP House leader, and Sen. McConnell, R-Kentucky, came out against the creation of the commission.
McCarthy’s opposition wasn’t enough to stop it in the House but McConnell may be able to block it in the Senate, as it will need to pick up at least 10 Republican votes to pass.
The concept of the commission was based on the 9/11 commission and hammered out by the Democratic chairman and Republican ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee.
Although both lawmakers took pains during House floor debate on Wednesday to say the commission would be bipartisan — evenly split between the parties, with both having to agree on issuing subpoenas — some Republicans argued it would be hopelessly political.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, complained about the lack of a focus on the Black Lives Matter and antifa-related violence but also said, “the media is going to use this to smear Trump supporters and President Trump for the next two years.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, later said, “We had people scaling the Capitol … and we can’t get bipartisanship. What else has to happen in this country? We need two political parties in the country that are both living in reality, and you ain’t one of them.”
One of the architects of the bill, Rep. John Katko, R-New York, asked for tempers to cool over the bill and asked his colleagues to set aside politics “just this once … I beg you … and pass this bill.”