Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Thursday took aim at Republican senators’ argument for opposing the House-passed Jan. 6 commission bill, a rationale that puts partisan gains over accountability for the deadly Capitol insurrection that former President Trump incited.
Manchin and fellow moderate Sen. Kristen Sinema (D-AZ) implored Republicans on Tuesday to back the commission in hopes of gaining the support of the 10 Republicans needed for the bill’s passage. The two are, conveniently, also the main roadblocks to Senate Democrats’ efforts to abolish the filibuster; the 60-vote threshold that stands as a substantial hindrance to President Biden’s legislative agenda.
On Thursday, Manchin doubled down in his pleas to GOPers, dismissing Republican’s flimsy argument that supporting the commission would taint the party’s messaging and therefore its chances of winning races during next year’s midterm elections.
My statement on the January 6th Commission: pic.twitter.com/ZfNhQfKzmh
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) May 27, 2021
After issuing his statement, Manchin denied to reporters that his statement was “fiery,” but rather “honest.”
“I’m hoping we have enough good Republican friends that look at it from the standpoint and want to get the truth out,” Manchin said. “Democrats have basically given everything they asked for any impediment they would have been there and there’s no reason not to now, unless you just don’t want to hear the truth.”
While the statement is an aggressive call to his GOP colleagues, it’s a lot of talk for Manchin, who also said he remains opposed to breaking the filibuster and lowering the 60-vote threshold to get the bill passed through the Senate.
“I’m not ready to destroy our government,” Manchin said. “I think they will come together, you have to have faith that there’s 10 good people.”
Manchin’s comments come a day after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called out Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for reportedly telling colleagues in private that he opposes any independent inquiry because he’s concerned an investigation could hurt the Republican Party’s “midterm election message.”
“What’s really going on here? Why the various shifting reasons? Why Republicans can’t support a simple bipartisan, down the middle, 50-50 commission to report on a very serious event in our nation’s history?” Schumer said. “Well, it seems the real reason has nothing to do with the structure of the commission, nothing to do with the details of the bill. It all has to do with politics.”
Only three Republican senators have expressed support for the commission thus far — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Democrats would need seven more Republicans to get on board for the bill to pass, which almost certainly will not happen. The GOP is now poised to use their first legislative filibuster to kill the bill that would set up the bipartisan commission.
On Wednesday afternoon, Collins made two key tweaks to the commission bill in a last-ditch effort to avoid said filibuster.
Collins’ revisions to the commission bill include proposing that the chair and vice chair of the committee “jointly” appoint staff. In the event that the chair and vice chair deadlock for 10 days after the formation of the panel, the two sides would be allowed to appoint their own staff.