Blunt Thinks It’s ‘Too Early’ To Form Jan. 6 Commission As Bill Moves To Senate

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Members of President Biden's cabinet are... Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Members of President Biden's cabinet are testifying about the American Jobs Plan, the administration's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that has yet to win over a single Republican in Congress. (Photo by Oliver Contreras / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OLIVER CONTRERAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 23, 2021 5:20 p.m.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) on Sunday quipped that it’s “too early” to create an independent commission to probe the deadly Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, following the House’s passage of the bill for the commission’s formation that now faces an uphill battle in the 50-50 Senate.

Asked about his confidence in Senate Republicans blocking the creation of the Jan. 6 commission during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Blunt said he and other Senate Republicans think it’s “too early” to create the commission investigating the Capitol attack, arguing that commissions fail to meet expectations.

“Commissions often don’t work at all and when they do work, like the Simpson-Bowles commission, produced a good result, nothing happened as part of that result,” Blunt said.

Blunt said the formation of the commission that investigated 9/11 happened about 14 months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as his rationale for arguing that it would take several months for a commission modeled after it to investigate the breaching of the Capitol.

Blunt also pointed to his role in the Senate Intelligence Committee during the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to boost his argument against the formation of the Jan. 6 commission.

“I’ve actually opposed the idea of a commission from immediately from the very first because I think we’ll start waiting for a commission rather than moving forward with what we know we need to do now,” Blunt said. “There’s a bipartisan effort in the Senate with two committees to produce not only a report, but also a number of recommendations, and we should be able to do that in the first full week of June and we haven’t even waited for that to decide what a commission should do.”

Last week, 35 House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for a 9/11-style bipartisan commission to look into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which gave Democrats a win on scope. All 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” crossed party lines to approve the measure in a 252-175 vote.

The House-passed bill, however, faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Republicans in the upper chamber who previously signaled support for the commission’s formation have distanced themselves from their previous remarks.

Hours before the House was scheduled to vote on the Jan. 6 commission bill last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his opposition to it, echoing the same reasons House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave while coming out against it. Both McCarthy and McConnell said there are already ongoing prosecutions and congressional investigations, and the commission should include a larger scope to include various other acts of political violence that are unrelated to Jan. 6.

Republican leadership soon took a cue from McCarthy and McConnell in voicing their opposition to the proposed commission investigating the Jan. 6 attacks that then-President Trump incited, telling his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results on the day of the joint session of Congress ratifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

“I am concerned that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are going to make this absolutely as partisan as they can. That’s by their design,” GOP conference chair Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told reporters last week. “And I don’t think there’s anything to be served by that.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the minority whip, told reporters that the commission is not something that they’ve “assessed or whipped yet,” but said that there’s “skepticism about what’s happening in the House right now and whether what comes out will be a proposal that’s fair.”

Watch Blunt’s remarks below:

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