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Democrats seek control of commission to study January 6 attack on Capitol

Democrats are proposing a structure for a commission to study the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that will allow their party to appoint the majority of the commission's members, according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the discussion draft being circulated among congressional leadership.  

Under the current structure, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell will each get to appoint two people to the commission. President Joe Biden will get to appoint three members, including the chair, the aide said. That would allow Democrats to appoint seven commissioners and Republicans to appoint four. 

McCarthy's office did not respond to the discussion draft, but the House Republican leader said in a statement last week that Republicans and Democrats should have equal say in appointing the commissioners, as was the case with the commission that studied the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

"It is our responsibility to understand the security and intelligence breakdowns that led to the riots on January 6 so that we can better protect this institution and the men and women working inside it. A commission should follow the guidance of [9/11 commissioners] Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton to be 'both independent and bipartisan', and to preserve that integrity it must be evenly split between both parties," he said.  

Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, drafted a proposal last month to create a commission that would have 10 members evenly divided between both parties.   

The Democrats' proposal would instruct the commission issue its report by the end of the year and disband the commission 60 days after the report is issued, the aide said. 

The negotiations to create the commission are ongoing. It's not yet clear when exactly legislation to establish it will come to the floor, but it could be as soon as this week.    

Six people died as a result of the events of January 6 when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers, who were counting the Electoral College votes, were forced to flee from the floor, and Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber. 

Security footage that has been released showed the attackers in pursuit of some high-profile lawmakers, including Pence, Pelosi and Senator Mitt Romney. Video shown at Mr. Trump's impeachment trial showed attackers menacingly yelling "Nancy! Oh Nancy" as they patrolled through the halls, and one man has been arrested after being photographed with his feet up on her desk. 

Pelosi tasked retired Lieutenant General Russel Honoré with reviewing Capitol security in the wake of the attack. Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues last week that Honoré's interim reporting shows "we must put forth a supplemental appropriation to provide for the safety of Members and the security of the Capitol." Members had already urged for more funding to support their safety. 

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