Asked yesterday about a bipartisan proposal to create a Jan. 6 commission, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seemed eager to appear reasonable. "I think it's safe for you to report that we are undecided about the way forward at this point," the GOP leader told reporters, adding that he simply wants to "read the fine print" on the bipartisan plan.
Cynics had a hunch McConnell's thoughtful consideration was a sham, and that he'd inevitably prioritize his party's interests. They were, of course, right: McConnell announced his opposition to the measure this morning.
On Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor that he'd "made a decision to oppose the House Democrats' slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th." ... "It's not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress," he said.
The phrasing was curious: McConnell twice referred to "another commission" to investigate the attack on the Capitol, as if some other commission already existed. That's not the case: Congress is working on a bipartisan proposal to create the first and only commission to examine the deadly insurrectionist riot.
McConnell's statement nevertheless brings him in line with House Republican leaders, who announced their opposition to the plan yesterday, despite the fact that the GOP helped negotiate the deal, and despite the fact that Democrats made nearly all of the concessions Republicans asked for.
The Senate minority leader's announcement also came about a half-day after Donald Trump called McConnell out by name in a written statement, demanding that the congressional debate over a bipartisan commission end "immediately."
It didn't take long for the Kentucky Republican to agree.
So what happens now? The House is still on track to pass the measure today, at which point the bill will head to the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to bring the proposal to the floor, where it will face a Republican filibuster. While there was some chatter yesterday about a bipartisan majority possibly overcoming GOP obstructionist tactics -- as many as seven Senate Republicans said they were open to backing the bill -- McConnell's opposition will likely seal the measure's fate.
At that point, congressional Democrats will almost certainly move forward with a thorough investigation by way of House and Senate committees, which is a process the party began in March.
Those committees, of course, have subpoena power, and as Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) put it this morning, "Congress was physically under siege in an organized attempt to overthrow democracy itself.... [T]he House just needs to let subpoenas fly."