‘Pretty damn scary’: Failure of Jan. 6 commission exposes Senate wounds

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was also upset that Schumer’s speech didn’t say anything positive about Collins’s amendment and asked the majority leader to support it. The last minute handwork details come from half a dozen senators and aides who know about the day’s vote.

Democrats thought they had given Collins anything they wanted from the commission, and yet she was on the verge of breaking a filibuster. Collins and other Republicans worried that Schumer would rather beat up their party as an obstructionist than try to get the three more votes he needed to get the required 60. The resulting bitterness was reminiscent of the tension that had long built inside the house as the lingering scars of the pro-Trump Capitol attack split the two parties, even on most anodyne laws.

The Senate, in which far fewer Republicans questioned Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden, has so far avoided mutual resentment on the other side of the Capitol. And the upper chamber is still on track to pass Schumer’s bipartisan law on China’s competitiveness.

Even so, voting with the sunk commission was a microcosm of Congress’s failed efforts to move forward after Jan 6: two opposing party senators supported the same goals and briefly focused their frustrations with 10 Republicans not coming on board.

It’s not a good sign for a Senate that controls much of Biden’s agenda.

“We all take an oath to defend the constitution against enemies at home and abroad. And some people take it seriously. The fact that it’s not universal right now is damn scary, ”said Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). “Some of the people who really ignited everything that led to it [Jan. 6], these are not people to work with. “

The Commission’s filibuster faces an increasingly difficult summer with failed votes and pressure from the left for the Democrats to suspend negotiations with the Republicans altogether. Schumer plans to propose a bill on high-priority voting rights and key measures on gun safety and LGBTQ rights in June.

Schumer’s tangle of land with Collins came as no surprise in some ways: he only spent a year foiling her re-election offer, creating a rift between two senators who must work together to make bipartisan progress on tough issues.

Nonetheless, he put a characteristically sunny impression on the busy weeks, with his top priority being confronting China, which lasted about a month, and brutal battles on issues that Republicans will no doubt oppose. A growing proportion of Schumer’s caucus believe that the Democrats’ biggest obstacle is the filibuster, forcing them to work with Republicans in the first place.

“Senate Democrats do everything possible to move the bipartisan legislation when the opportunity arises,” said the New York Democrat on Friday. “But we’re not going to wait months to pass meaningful legislation that will deliver real results to the American people.”

The failed commission vote and the overcrowded Senate agenda are guaranteed to renew the debate over whether Democrats should kill the legislative filibuster. While Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) And Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Have vowed not to reach the chamber’s 60-vote threshold, the series of votes set for June will increase the pressure to do so.

“It affects how I think about Senate rules,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) When voting on Friday. “Whether it is [commission] or voting rights or other things that people at least expect us to protect the country’s democracy. If one side is not ready, as a member of the majority, I will not raise my hands and say, “OK, I think we can’t.”

Regardless of what the Senate does on other bills, the commission’s failed vote is likely to dwarf the chamber for months, if not years. It is nearly impossible for many senators to overcome the harrowing hours they spent in a safe area of ​​the Capitol after Trump supporters got upset to prevent Congress from counting the votes of the electoral college.

With that in mind, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Said his party had raised hopes by the last minute on Friday that nine Republicans would join Collins to move forward. The Senate got a “heartbreaking” result instead, Murphy said, reflecting the psychological importance of the commission that fell victim to a filibuster.

“It’s still fresh in the minds of many people and undoubtedly shapes the way people view problems and maybe even some relationships,” said John Thune (RS.D.), Senate Minority Whip, who neither supported the commission nor joined her most of the opponents. “We have to learn from it and grow from it. But we also have to be able to take on other issues. “

It was not clear that Republicans were completely comfortable making public arguments against the commission. The minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Was the only Senator who repeatedly made a strong case for the local opposition.

Six Senate Republicans voted to push the bill, which won 35 GOP votes in the House. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) Said he supported the legislation with Collins’ amendments but was absent due to family involvement.

Only one of the seven Republicans who voted in favor of condemning Trump, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, opposed the commission, arguing that it would be incriminating and drag in the middle. One GOP counter-argument voiced by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy is that the non-partisan commission would be far superior to a democratically led selection committee that could come any day.

“If you ask [Louisianans]Who do you trust more: an independent commission or one made up of members of the Congress handpicked by the speaker? You don’t trust the spokesman, “said Cassidy of California Democrat Nancy Pelosi. He said the draft commission is not a hard vote.

For those who opposed the measure, it wasn’t a hard vote either. McConnell made such an intense argument against the commission that the only person who appeared to be on the air was Senator Portman, who voted to move the bill forward after assuring Collins’s amendment had Democratic support.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), A former intelligence committee chairman who voted against the commission, said it wasn’t a tough call for him. Even if Collins’s amendments had been adopted, Rubio added, he would “probably not” have voted to start the debate in the first place.

“Everyone has to cut the crap. We know exactly what this Commission is about. This commission is about keeping the whole issue in the headlines for as long as possible and using it as a weapon to try and summon Republicans who they want to target, ”Rubio said.

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