House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday that he opposes a bipartisan agreement on a commission to investigate Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that was announced on Friday.
The agreement, hammered out by Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Ranking Member John Katko, R-N.Y., met one Republican demand that it include equal representation from both parties. But it failed to meet another that some Republicans expressed – that it would also investigate last summer’s riots that plagued American cities and other left-wing violence, as well.
That’s why McCarthy said Monday he cannot support 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.”
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McCarthy 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.”
McCarthy’s opposition to the legislation is notable given that he himself deputized Katko to negotiate the bill on behalf of Republicans. It could indicate a potentially partisan vote on the commission in the House, which would kneecap its legitimacy from the beginning.
Katko, however, defended the agreement on Friday, saying the agreement he came to with Thompson removed politics from the equation. The commission, according to the Homeland Security Committee, would “be charged with studying the facts and circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy.”
“An independent, bipartisan commission will remove politicization of the conversation and focus solely on the facts and circumstances surrounding the security breach at the Capitol as well as other instances of violence relevant to such a review,” Katko said.
McCarthy’s opposition will also loom over a House Rules Committee meeting on the legislation Tuesday.
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The final passage of legislation for a Jan. 6 commission, however, likely does not come down to McCarthy but rather Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell has been a harsh critic of the former president – unlike McCarthy – but amid debate over a commission earlier this year he said that the committee should look at more than just the Jan. 6 attack and focus on other political violence, too.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News on Tuesday morning.
On Friday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said of the Katko-Thompson agreement, “I think that they’re going to have to broaden the inquiries that they’re making in order to get 60 votes.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Jason Donner contributed to this report.