“Let’s tell the truth: Democracy itself was violently attacked on Jan. 6. If we don’t stand up for it, it will happen again. If we don’t tell the truth about what happened on January 6, it will happen again,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, on the House floor Wednesday. “If all of us don’t stand up to traitors and cowards in defense of our Constitution, it will happen again.” Opponents of the bill, like Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, condemned the Jan. 6 attack as “inexcusable,” but said in a statement after the vote that she feared the commission would be used “as a political tool against Republicans.” Other Arizona Republicans – Reps. Andy Biggs of Gilbert, Paul Gosar of Prescott and David Schweikert of Fountain Hills – did not respond to request for comment Wednesday on their votes. But Biggs tweeted a video earlier in the day in which he called the bill a “partisan attempt to continue the false narrative of the left,” while Gosar has tweeted video clips showing rioters in the Capitol urging others to cooperate with police. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, accused Republican opponents of trying to “rewrite history and deny that the insurrection even happened.” “Like the former president they blindly follow, these members are deliberately misleading the American people and amplifying the dangerous conspiracy theories that led to the Jan. 6 attack,” Grijalva said in a prepared statement. Some opponents charged that investigating the attack on the Capitol alone is not enough, arguing that any such commission should also include other civil disturbances of the past year in its probe, pointing to Black Lives Matter and antifa protests that they said have caused property damage and injured civilians and police. “If we’re concerned about the danger police officers were in on January 6, and they certainly were, then why don’t we have that concern for the dangers, the violence, the injuries, the deaths that have been faced by police officers across this country?” asked Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., during floor debate on the bill. The bill [H.R.3233] calls for a 10-member commission. Five, including the chair, would be appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats. The other five, including the vice chair, would be named by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans. The commission would have the authority to issue subpoenas, but all decisions on hiring, spending and the issuance of subpoenas would have to be agreed to by both sides of the commission. It would have until December 31 to present its final report on what happened on January 6, with recommendations on how to keep it from happening again. “Today’s bill forming the national commission examining the tragedy of Jan. 6 is critically important, it’s what we owe the American people and the U.S. Capitol Police officers who risked their lives for members of Congress,” said Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix.
As a Marine and as a Member of Congress, I took an oath to defend our constitution and our democracy. Today I honored that oath by voting to create a National Commission to investigate the January 6th attack. We must never allow this to happen again. pic.twitter.com/vS7mJmkJhu— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) May 19, 2021
Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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