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House votes to establish committee to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Two Republicans — Cheney and Kinzinger — joined the Democrats in approving the new panel.
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WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to establish a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, the only step needed to formalize the panel's creation.

The House voted 222 to 190, with two Republicans joining all present Democrats in authorizing the committee.

Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming were the only Republicans to vote in favor of the committee.

"It's not my favored option," Kinzinger told Chicago-based television station Fox 32. "But the point is, we can't keep pretending like Jan. 6 didn't happen. We need full accounting for it and then we can move on."

This month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the panel as "complementary, not instead of" the bipartisan commission that already passed in the House and then was blocked by Senate Republicans in May.

The earlier legislation, which would have established a bipartisan panel to examine the attack, failed a key procedural hurdle after 54 senators voted in favor, falling short of the 60 votes needed. There has been no progress in convincing enough Republican senators to support the bill and end a filibuster.

"It's a second-best option. I would have strongly preferred the first bill that we voted on, which would have stood up a 9/11-style commission," Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said Wednesday. "We can't just sweep everything under the rug. So it's important because the American people need to have a clear understanding of what happened on that day so it doesn't happen again."

Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., told NBC News that former President Donald Trump's role should be examined "to the maximum extent possible."

"I think he caused the riot," Lamb said. "And it's one of the questions we need to answer. It's sad that we have to talk about it in that way, but he clearly had a big role. And I think people deserve to know how far that went."

The select committee will have 13 House members, five of whom will be chosen by Pelosi in consultation with Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Pelosi will have the authority to select its chair. The committee will also have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.

When asked if she would serve on the committee, Cheney said, "It's up to the speaker."

Democrats have been pushing for an investigation into the attack on the Capitol, while many Republicans have argued the process would become overly politicized.

In an email Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., urged GOP lawmakers to vote against the committee, saying it is "likely to pursue a partisan agenda to politicize the January 6th attack instead of conducting a good faith investigative effort into the actions leading up to and the security failures of the 6th."

In an unusual split screen, while lawmakers voted on the committee in Washington, some House Republicans joined Trump at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of those lawmakers voted to oppose the commission — which will likely focus significant time investigating Trump — using a proxy to vote while attending the event with Trump.

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, the head of the Republican Study Committee, which helped organize the trip, said it was important because "carrying on the Trump legacy on immigration" is his "top priority."