A group of former Homeland Security secretaries who previously served in both Republican and Democratic administrations urged the Senate to “put politics aside” as the House-passed bill to create a commission investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection faces an uphill battle in the upper chamber.
Former Homeland Security Secretaries Michael Chertoff, Tom Ridge, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson expressed their support for the commission in a statement shared with CNN.
The group stressed the importance of understanding the events that led to the violence during the deadly Capitol insurrection “to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in our country is never so threatened again.”
The former secretaries’ statement was issued amid Senate Republicans poised to use their first legislative filibuster to kill the bill that would set up the bipartisan commission, with Democrats lacking the 10 GOP votes needed for the bill to pass.
Only three Republican senators have come out in the support for the commission thus far — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made clear that he opposes the commission. McConnell reportedly told his colleagues in private that he opposes any independent inquiry because he’s concerned an investigation could hurt the Republican Party’s “midterm election message,” according to a Politico report on Wednesday. The next day, McConnell doubled down on pressuring his colleagues to block the commission by telling them that their support for filibustering the bill would be “personal favor” to him, according to CNN.
The former secretaries’ statement was also released the same day the mother and partner of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died after the insurrection, met with Republican senators on Capitol Hill and urged them to support the commission.