U.S. Reps Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, and John Katko (R-NY), the committee’s ranking member, on Friday introduced legislation to form a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The legislation, entitled the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act (H.R. 3233), is expected to be considered this week.
The commission will be responsible for studying the facts and circumstances surrounding the attack, as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked it. The commission will be made up of five commissioners, including the chair, appointed by the Speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate, and five commissioners, including the vice chair, appointed by the minority leaders of the House and Senate.
According to the legislation, commissioners must have significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity. Current government officers or employees are prohibited from being commissioners. Additionally, the commission will be granted the authority to issue subpoenas to secure information but will require agreement between the chair and the vice chair, or a majority vote by the commissioners.
A final report from the commission will be due by Dec. 31, 2021, and will include information on the facts and causes of the attack, along with recommendations to prevent similar attacks in the future.
“There has been a growing consensus that the January 6th attack is of a complexity and national significance that what we need an independent commission to investigate. I am pleased that after many months of intensive discussion, Ranking Member Katko and I were able to reach a bipartisan agreement,” Thompson said. “Inaction – or just moving on – is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol. After all, the Capitol is not just a historic landmark, it is where our constituents come to see their democracy in action. As such, we owe it to the Capitol police and all who enter our citadel of democracy to investigate the attack. The timing of this action is particularly poignant with this being National Police Week when we honor those who gave their lives to protect us.”