Congress’s pursuit of an independent investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection is facing long odds, as bipartisan resolve to hold the perpetrators and instigators accountable erodes, and Republicans face sustained pressure to disavow that it was supporters of former president Donald Trump who attacked the U.S. Capitol.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced late last week that she had drafted a fresh proposal for an outside commission to examine what caused the deadly riot. But in a sign of how delicate the political climate has become, she has yet to share her recommendations with Republican leaders, who shot down her initial approach, labeling it too narrow in scope and too heavily weighted toward Democrats in composition.
“Compromise has been necessary,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to other Democrats, informing them she had begun to share her latest proposal with other Republicans in Congress. “It is my hope that we can reach agreement very soon.”
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declined to comment on a proposal that the leader had not yet seen, adding that “hopefully the speaker has addressed our basic concerns of equal representation and subpoena authority.”
Behind the scenes, Democrats are developing contingency plans. Pelosi acknowledged this week that one backup option is to appoint a select committee of House members to investigate events surrounding the riot, though she told USA Today that it was “not my preference.” Another would be to defer to congressional committees that are currently examining the failures in planning that left the Capitol vulnerable to attack, which Pelosi has called a potential “resource” to a future commission, should one be established.