ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s Republicans all vote against House bill to create Jan. 6 commission

May 20, 2021, 11:15 AM
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on Jan...
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
(photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – No Arizona Republicans were among the 35 House members in their party who voted with the Democratic majority on Wednesday in favor of creating an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

HR 3233 calls for Democratic congressional leaders to appoint half of the 10-member commission, including the chair, and top Republicans the other half, including the vice chair.

However, GOP opponents of the bill, including Arizona Reps. Debbie Lesko and Andy Biggs, are contending that Democrats will use the commission as a partisan tool.

“What happened on January 6th was inexcusable and I wholeheartedly condemn the violence that occurred that day. After thoughtful consideration of this proposal, I decided to vote against this legislation,” her statement says.

“If I thought that this commission would be non-political and truly get to the bottom of what happened that day, I would have been inclined to support this legislation. Based on history, however, I have deep concerns about the commission being used by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats as a political tool against Republicans.”

Biggs expressed his misgivings in a video posted to Facebook on Wednesday morning, before he voted no.

“This is a terrible bill,” he said. “It’s a partisan attempt to continue the false narrative of the left.”

Biggs, who represents parts of the East Valley, also said it was a diversion from what he called “the massive failings of the Biden administration.”

Federal authorities have made more than 400 arrests in connection with the unrest of Jan. 6, when a mob overwhelmed police and broke into the Capitol while Congress was inside certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Details released about the charges show that the attackers generally have been supporters of then-President Donald Trump, many with connections to far-right militant groups.

The commission bill’s fate in the Senate is uncertain. For it to pass, at least 10 Republicans would have to break ranks.

GOP Reps. David Schweikert and Paul Gosar joined Biggs and Lesko on the no side. All five of the state’s Democrats approved the bill.

Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix spoke on the House floor before casting his yes vote, framing it as a necessary step in the defense of democracy.

“We must tell the truth and have swift and harsh accountability for everyone who was involved in the insurrection,” he said.

“In order to prevent this from ever happening again, every member of Congress must stand up to the traitors and cowards who attacked the Capitol.”

The Phoenix area’s other House Democrat, Rep. Greg Stanton, issued a statement calling the attack “a catastrophic, government-wide failure of leadership, intelligence gathering and preparation” and echoing Gallego’s sentiments on the necessity of the commission.

“The American people deserve a thorough and unbiased account of what happened – before and during the attack – so that nothing like this can every happen again,” Stanton’s statement says.

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Arizona’s Republicans all vote against House bill to create Jan. 6 commission