Today, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) announced that he has reached an agreement with Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY) to introduce legislation to form a bipartisan, independent Commission to investigate the January 6 domestic terrorism attack on the United States Capitol and recommend changes to further protect the Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. The legislation, entitled the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act (H.R. 3233), will be introduced by Reps. Thompson and Katko today and is expected to be considered in the House as soon as next week.
- The Commission will be charged with studying the facts and circumstances surrounding the facts and circumstances of the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy.
- Like the 9/11 Commission, the measure establishes a 10-person bipartisan commission with five commissioners, including the Chair, appointed by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate and five commissioners, including the Vice Chair, be appointed by the Minority Leaders of the House and Senate.
- 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 appointment.
- Like the 9/11 Commission, the Commission will be granted authority to issue subpoenas to secure information to carry out its investigation but requires agreement between the Chair and the Vice Chair or a vote by a majority of Commission members.
- The Commission will be required to issue a final report with findings regarding the facts and causes of the attack, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks on our democratic institutions, by December 31, 2021.
“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,” said Chairman Thompson. “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.”