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House Lawmakers To Vote On A Select Committee To Probe The Jan. 6 Riot

NOEL KING, HOST:

Lawmakers in the House will vote today on whether to create a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Plans for a bipartisan outside commission failed in the Senate last month, so Democrats are doing it this way. Here's New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who chairs the House Democratic caucus.

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HAKEEM JEFFRIES: The events of January 6, what happened that fateful day, why it happened and how do we prevent that type of violent assault on the Capitol, the Congress and the Constitution from ever happening again.

KING: But some Republicans who supported the bipartisan commission have said they will vote against this committee. NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales has been following this one. Good morning, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: How would a select committee work?

GRISALES: It's structured like past select committees. It will have subpoena power, and it is split between the parties, but not evenly. It will have 13 members and eight of those selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the remaining five with, quote, "consultation" from Pelosi by the Republican leader in the House - this is Kevin McCarthy. That split favors Democrats and has some former supporters of the bipartisan commission saying they'll vote against the select committee. This includes the House Republican who brokered the deal to come up with that outside commission plan, John Katko. That said, Speaker Pelosi has said she could use one of her picks to choose a Republican, and one name on many lists is Liz Cheney, the Wyoming representative who was recently ousted from her House leadership role by party leaders. And Cheney herself is not ruling out the possibility.

KING: OK. So Republican leader Kevin McCarthy would pick the Republicans who'd serve on the committee. Who might he be considering?

GRISALES: Yes. That is something that we're waiting to hear from. Republicans, like Democrats, are holding this information close to the vest for now. We've heard anyone from Cheney to Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to one of the party's more controversial members, Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene, signal interest in serving. That said, we still need to hear those names. Perhaps it could be later this week. Meanwhile, GOP leaders such as House Minority Whip Stephen Scalise are still attacking the panel, saying Pelosi should focus instead on the existing congressional committee investigations into the siege. Let's take a listen.

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STEVE SCALISE: Speaker Pelosi ought to be exercising that same ability, not going down a partisan route.

GRISALES: Now, we should note, Pelosi says because the minority leader will consult the speaker on his five appointments, she said it's possible she could even veto some of McCarthy's choices. Now, this language to consult the speaker is the same wording that was used for the Republican-led select committee to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, but it's another reminder of the very partisan times we're living in.

KING: But Republicans had to have known that they would face a more partisan route if they blocked the commission that was originally proposed, right?

GRISALES: Yes. This comes more than a month after Senate Republicans blocked a move to take up legislation creating this bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the deadly riot, and Pelosi had already warned she might take this step if legislation for an outside commission failed. Now, Republicans could now face the prospect of this committee rolling out its findings close to the midterm elections, which is something the party was hoping to avoid. So all of this could make for a more lopsided vote today before 35 Republicans joined House Democrats to approve the outside commission plan. But today we could see that number fall, with Katko and others already warning they could be a vote of a no today.

KING: OK. NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales. Thanks, Claudia.

GRISALES: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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