CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, in which West Virginia’s David McKinley was one of 35 Republicans who supported such body.
The final vote was 252-175; Democrats unanimously backed the commission’s creation, while West Virginia Reps. Alex Mooney and Carol Miller joined 173 Republican colleagues in opposing the legislation after Republican leaders pushed against the commission.
Under House Resolution 3233, the commission would be responsible for investigating the attack by a mob of Donald Trump supporters, including the causes of the incident and recommendations related to preparing and responding to domestic terrorism. The commission would have the authority to hold public hearings, request evidence and issue subpoenas as part of its investigation.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Ranking Member John Katko, R-N.Y., worked together on the measure.
McKinley explained his vote Thursday in a statement to MetroNews.
“The events at the Capitol on January 6 were horrific and cannot be ignored. A fair bipartisan investigation will help us get to the bottom of what happened that day and understand the factors that contributed to it, including the media, social media, and overheated rhetoric by both parties,” he said.
“We were faced with an up or down vote, with no ability to amend it. Hopefully, this proposal will be considered in the Senate with the ability to offer amendments to improve it. If the commission activities become too partisan, the Republican members could just walk away or not sign the final report. Congress has always investigated major events, including 9/11 and Benghazi in recent years. January 6 should be no different.”
The January attack halted the certification of the presidential election results. Congress resumed its business once the Capitol was secure, but some Republicans in the Senate and House maintained their opposition toward verifying the results. McKinley noted at the time his concerns about how states acted during the election but added federal lawmakers lack the authority to reject state-certified results.
“Protecting the integrity of our elections and maintaining the confidence of American voters is fundamental to the health of our country,” he said in January. “Congress and state legislatures must take steps now to address the flaws that have been clearly identified and make sure they can’t happen in the future. The American people deserve peace of mind that national elections are uniform, fair, and transparent. In so doing we can restore confidence in the electoral process.”
Mooney backed objections to the results from Pennsylvania and Nevada, while Miller voted to object Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.
“Our law enforcement authorities and government agencies are currently leading investigations to provide the necessary oversight to ensure that justice is served,” Miller said Wednesday regarding her vote.
“Once that is completed from a law enforcement and criminal justice perspective, we can explore options to ensure the events of January 6th and other violent criminal actions never happen again.”
Mooney’s office did not return a request for comment.
The measure faces an uncertain future in the split Senate; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced before the House’s vote his opposition to the bill.
“It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on atop of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress. The facts will come out and continue to come out,” he said. “What is clear is that House Democrats have handled this proposal in partisan bad faith going back to the beginning.”
Four rioters died amid the violence, and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed while engaging with protesters and died the following day. Two other officers killed themselves.
More than 400 people face charges for their alleged actions during the riot, including former West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans and Morgantown sandwich shop operator George Tanios.