As with all things in Washington, there is more there than meets the eye.
This is certainly true about all the commotion recently about forming a bipartisan commission to look deeply at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Initially Republican leadership insisted that any such commission be bipartisan so that the majority Democrats could not “stack the deck.”
However, this argument fell apart when Chairman Bennie Thompson, of the Homeland Security committee, agreed that Democrats would appoint five members to the commission and Republicans would also get five appointees. At this point, GOP majority leader Kevin McCarthy, who opposes the commission, had to scramble to come up with other objections.
And given the lack of leadership and backbone that McCarthy often exhibits, he simply double-crossed one of his own members, John Katko of New York. Katko is vice-chair of the Homeland Security Committee and McCarthy directed him to negotiate with Thompson. But when Katko did what he was supposed to do and got the concessions from Thompson that McCarty wanted, it became obvious that McCarthy was not interested in negotiating in good faith and he left Katko high and dry.
The bill agreed upon by Thompson and Katko passed the House May 19 with 35 Republican members voting with the Democrats. Katko was one of the 35.
However, the bill now goes to the Senate where it must get 60 votes. Minority leader Mitch McConnell opposes the bill and it is unlikely at least 10 Republicans will vote with the Democrats.
But here is where things get interesting because the Democratic majority can take a page out of the GOP play book and House committees can open their own investigation (s).
This is the same tactic Republicans used a few years ago when they were in power and about to wet their pants to blame Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.;
The incident occurred in 2012. In all there were 10 investigations conducted. Six of them by Republican controlled House committees. The GOP was looking for scandal, cover-up and lying. In fact, McCarthy recently admitted to Fox News that the six GOP investigations were all about politics. None of the 10 investigations supported the allegations.
And it is hardly a surprise that the last committee issued its final report and shut down in December 2016, one month after the 2016 presidential election where Donald Trump beat Clinton.
In 2014, the Republican House majority voted to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack — a terrorist assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Republicans treated this as a scandal akin to Iran-Contra or Watergate.
The committee was heavily stacked for the majority party: It had seven Republican members and only five Democrats. Republicans were able to do what they wanted — and they did. The Benghazi committee spent nearly three years and $8 million on its investigation — and still did not find any wrongdoing by Clinton.
The Republican refusal to agree to the bipartisan 1/6 Commission bill will free Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set up a January 6 Select committee in which Democrats will be more firmly in charge — as Republicans were on the Benghazi committee. The Benghazi investigation was a political stunt, but this investigation is deadly serious. We must get a full accounting of the events of Jan. 6 despite Republican attempts to bury the truth. Republicans may come to regret their opposition to the bipartisan 1/6 Commission.
In south Alabama we say “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
But Kevin McCarty is not from south Alabama–he’s from Bakersfield, CA–and since he is blinded by his desire to become Speaker of the House one day and can not seem to see beyond the end of his nose, his miscalculation is no surprise.