Chairman McGovern Opens Debate On Bill Establishing Bipartisan National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the Capitol
Bill Also Provides Funding to Upgrade The Physical Safety of Capitol Complex and Other Federal Buildings
WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) today opened debate on the rule for consideration of H.R. 3233, to establish a National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act, and H.R. 3237, the Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act, 2021.
Chairman McGovern’s remarks are below, video of his remarks is available here:
“M. Speaker, it’s been 133 days since an angry mob of insurrectionists tried to stop the certification of a free and fair election in America.
“The question before us today is this: what are we going to do about it? Some of my colleagues on the other side want to sweep this dark chapter under the rug. Just last week, one Republican said the events of January 6th resembled a ‘normal tourist visit.’
“M. Speaker, I was here, presiding over the House, on January 6th. People died that day. Police officers were beaten and bloodied. America’s Capitol – the symbol of our freedom and citadel of our democracy— was desecrated by a mob that wanted to invalidate an election. There was nothing ‘normal’ about it. It is not ‘normal’ for a mob to break into this complex to try and hang the Vice President of the United States and harm other elected officials. It is not ‘normal’ for insurrectionists to try and stop the certification of an American election - one that judge after judge after judge said was free and fair. And it is not ‘normal’ for Congress to respond by doing nothing.
“That’s why we are considering the underlying legislation contained in this rule. It will establish a bipartisan, 9/11 style commission to investigate what happened. A commission led not by politicians, but by experts.
“Let me say this plainly: a vote for this commission is a vote to make sure this never happens again.
“I want to recognize the incredible work of the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee in navigating this truly bipartisan deal. It’s one that will keep the focus where it should be: solely on the events of January 6th. I look forward to the commission’s report at the end of the year. But the truth is we cannot wait until then to fix what we already know needs fixing.
“We need to upgrade the physical safety of this and other federal buildings; Increase security in district offices; Repay the National Guard for their service in the aftermath of the insurrection; And provide support the overworked Capitol Police force that keep us all safe day after day.
“This is how you respond responsibly to what happened four months ago, M. Speaker. Not with deflection or mistruths. But by taking action.
“To protect not only this complex and those who work, serve, and visit here. But to also protect our very democracy.
“And making sure we never become a country that lets any angry mob decide who the next president will be. Only the voters can do that. M. Speaker, we need to put the facts on record here. To tell the truth and not spread lies.
“And the truth is that some on the other side are afraid to do anything around here because they’re afraid. Afraid of the truth. Afraid because their leadership doesn’t want to offend the ex-President and his Big Lie.
“That’s all I could think when I read the minority leader’s deeply troubling statement opposing the January 6th commission. Even though it’s bipartisan. Even though his own ranking member negotiated the deal. Even though we gave him everything he asked for during negotiations. A Republican aide said it best when they were quoted in the press yesterday saying this: ‘I think Kevin was hoping that the Democrats would never agree to our requests — that way the commission would be partisan and we can all vote no and say it’s a sham operation. Because he knows Trump is going to lose his mind.’
“‘Lose his mind.’ Over a bipartisan commission.
“Mr. Speaker, this moment is a choice. A choice between the truth or siding with the originator of the Big Lie.
“To my friends on the other side, I’m asking you to lead with the courage of your convictions.
Vote your conscience.
“Support this bipartisan commission not just because it’s the right thing to do, but out of respect: For your colleagues. For your staff and the support staff here. For the Capitol Police. But most importantly, respect for this institution.
“I’ve cast some tough votes in my career. But casting a vote to establish a bipartisan commission to examine an insurrection is not one of them.
“I appeal to you to do the right thing. To lead with courage, and support this legislation.
“I reserve the balance of my time.”