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Rep. Tim Ryan unloads on GOP opposition to Jan. 6 inquiry in House floor speech

Several Republican members expressed dissent against a commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol.
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Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, laced into House Republicans during a debate before the passage of a bill to create an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"I want to thank the gentleman from New York and the other Republicans who are supporting this and thank them for their bipartisanship," Ryan said, referring to the 35 GOP House members who supported the measure. He said of the rest "of our friends on the other side of the aisle, holy cow. Incoherence. No idea what you're talking about."

Ryan compared the opposition to the bill, which passed 252-175 on Wednesday, to the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead; critics largely said it was a political move against Hillary Clinton. The investigation concluded in 2016, costing about $7 million, and it did not suggest that Clinton was personally responsible for or could have prevented the attack when she was secretary of state.

"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. What else has to happen in this country?" Ryan said.

The fiery speech, which Ryan delivered after many GOP members expressed their opposition to the bill, ricocheted across social media.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., defended the rioters and opposed the bill. She asked why a commission was not created "to stop the BLM and antifa riots" and argued that the commission would be used to "smear" supporters of former President Donald Trump.

"What's going to happen with the Jan. 6 commission is the media is going to use this to smear Trump supporters and President Trump for the next few years," said Greene, who has created numerous maelstroms since she arrived in Washington.

Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., raised similar concerns and suggested that the commission would not be bipartisan, even though the bill calls for a panel of five members from each party.

"If it was an insurrection, it was the worst example of an insurrection in the history of mankind. It was a riot. It was a mob. And it was significant. And it was troublesome. But this is not bipartisanship. And I fear that the gentleman from New York may find that he has been played," he said, referring to Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., who co-sponsored the legislation.

Ryan, a 10-term House member who has launched a bid for Ohio's open Senate seat, said the opposition was a "slap in the face to every rank-and-file cop in the United States."

"If we're going to take on China, if we're going to rebuild the country, if we're going to reverse climate change, we need two political parties in this country that are both living in reality, and you ain't one of them," he said.