After telling reporters he was undecided on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears to have made up his mind less than 24 hours later—he will oppose an independent commission examining what happened on Jan. 6.
The top Senate Republican may have castigated Donald Trump for his role in fomenting the Capitol insurrection, but on Wednesday, McConnell said he couldn’t support the bipartisan House bill creating the commission, which is expected to pass out of the House on Wednesday with some GOP support.
“After careful consideration,” McConnell said from the Senate floor, “I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th.”
The day before, McConnell said he was weighing the proposal and wanted to read the “fine print.” That was a marked contrast from his House counterpart, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who came out swinging against the commission even though he’d deputized one of his own members to negotiate with Democrats about the parameters of a commission.
McConnell’s opposition makes the prospect of 10 Republicans voting for the legislation—the number required for passage in the evenly split chamber—even more daunting. Some GOP senators are on board with the idea of a Jan. 6 commission, but many others are opposed or have left themselves room to follow the GOP leader’s lead.
While McConnell called the bill creating the commission “slanted and unbalanced,” the proposal would actually establish a panel equally divided between Democrats and Republicans—five for each side. It would grant subpoena power to the commission, but only if the Democrat-appointed chair and the Republican-appointed vice chair agreed, or if a majority of the commission voted to issue a subpoena.