Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan raises Benghazi, slams GOP for opposing bipartisan Capitol riot commission

Thirty-five Republicans joined all House Democrats in voting Wednesday to establish an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, but 175 House Republicans voted no. Right before the vote, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) thanked his Republican colleagues who supported the commission and slammed the rest.

"Benghazi, you guys chased the former secretary of state all over the country, spent millions of dollars — we have people scaling the Capitol, hitting the Capitol Police with lead pipes across the head, and we can't get bipartisanship!?" Ryan shouted, throwing up his hands. "What else has to happen in this country?" He called GOP opposition to the commission "a slap in the face to every rank-and-file cop in the United States," adding: "We need two political parties in this country that are both living in reality, and you ain't one of 'em."

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The commissions fate now lies in the Senate, where 10 Republicans have to vote yes — a prospect dimmed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) coming out against the new panel earlier Wednesday. He called the legislation "slanted and unbalanced" and said another investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection would be superfluous. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused McConnell and other Republicans of kowtowing to former President Donald Trump, whose actions would be scrutinized by the commission.

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The 10-member commission would be split evenly between Democratic and GOP appointees, the commissioners would have equal subpoena power, and there would be no predetermined findings or conclusions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held up a lettter from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during the debate, saying he had requested those three parameters in writing.

McCarthy had deputized Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) to negotiate the commission's parameters, and he did. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who voted for the commission, explained afterward he had done so because Democrats "basically gave us what we wanted." Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) underscored the bipartisanship of the commission and said Republicans voting against the commission are afraid of Trump.

McConnell and McCarthy's attempts to sink the commission "are the latest evidence of the party's continued loyalty to Trump," The Washington Post suggests, "and the fear among its leaders that crossing him will imperil their positions and the GOP's efforts to win back both houses of Congress next year."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.