Rubio Has Strong Words for January 6 Commission Bill: ‘This Is a Partisan Joke’

Rebecca Downs, When it comes to reactions to a bill that would create a January 6 commission, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in particular has strong words.

The senator raised concerns where others have, in that “there’s plenty of attention already being paid to this,” with Rubio rebuking any claims that opposition amounted to a “cover-up.”

The bulk of Sen. Rubio’s opposition, though, came with concerns that the commission won’t be so bipartisan after all:

“So what is this about? I’ll tell you what this is about. The first thing that stood out to me — this is about politics. Here’s how. They have this thing that says in order to issue a subpoena, you need both the Republican and the Democratic side, evenly divided, to agree with it. But that’s not the point for politics; you don’t actually need the subpoena. All you need is a story out there saying, ‘Congressman so-and-so — they want to subpoena him or her, but they can’t because the Republicans are blocking it.’ And then the stories are going to be, number one, it creates this impression that maybe Congressman so-and-so did something wrong — why would they want to subpoena him? And number two, the story will be ‘Republicans are covering up the investigation into Congressman so-and-so.’

“So that’s what this is about: it’s about damaging Republicans. You don’t even need the subpoena; you just need the request for a subpoena to damage Republicans for blocking it and to damage that member of Congress or whoever it is simply because [you can ask leading questions like] ‘you want to look at them — why would you want to look at them unless they did something wrong?’ That’s what this is about. It’s about keeping the House majority in 2022 and winning elections and keeping this in the headlines.

“And by the way, it’s not evenly divided because the chairman of this commission has the power to hire all the senior staff and has special powers to overrule the decisions made by the other side and the vice-chair. This is a partisan joke.”

Kudos to Sen. Rubio for reading and analyzing legislation, whatever you think of his opposition. If only more politicians did this more often.

The bill passed the House on Wednesday by 252-175 and was soon after fast-tracked by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), though it’s not yet clear when it will be heard.

The bill looks increasingly unlikely to get the necessary support from 10 Republicans. Even one of the seven senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, Rich Burr of North Carolina, signaled his opposition on Thursday.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was particularly disappointed, as Burgess Everett reported for Politico in writing “Filibuster brawl amps up with GOP opposition to Jan. 6 panel.” Everett wrote:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), one of the filibuster’s strongest supporters in the Democratic Party, seemed aghast that his GOP colleagues are on track to block the bill.

“So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country,” Manchin said. Asked if that is an abuse of the filibuster: “I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots within that conference.”

The Washington Post is grouping Republican senators by their support of the commission. As of Friday night, four are categorized as “expressed openness,” 11 as “still considering,” 25 as “oppose,” and 10 as “unknown.”