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House Votes to Create Select Committee to Investigate Capitol Riot

The resolution was introduced after the Senate rejected a bipartisan bill to form an independent commission.

WASHINGTON (CN) — The House of Representatives voted 222-190 on Wednesday to pass a resolution creating a select committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Monday introduced a draft of the resolution, which enlists 13 members to investigate the circumstances leading up to the attack, review its causes and issue a final report to the chamber summarizing the committee's conclusions and recommendations. 

The House previously passed H.R. 3233, a bill to create an independent commission to study the insurrection, with a 252-175 vote, but it fell short by six votes in the Senate. 

"We had a bipartisan bill,” Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said during a House debate on Tuesday. “Our Republican colleagues got everything they wanted in that bill and yet their leadership withdrew its support in the last moment and couldn’t take yes for an answer.” 

When the evenly divided Senate blocked the legislation, Pelosi announced last week that she would form a select committee in the House to study the insurrection.

“We have the duty, to the Constitution and the country, to find the truth of the Jan. 6 insurrection and to ensure that such an assault on our democracy cannot happen again,” she wrote in a letter to House members. “It is clear that Jan. 6 was not simply an attack on a building, but an attack on our very democracy.” 

On the House floor before the vote Wednesday, the speaker gave a speech that included a round of applause for Capitol Police officers in attendance. Everyone knew that the attack was politically motivated, she said, “but many across the aisle refuse to admit the truth” that it was pushed by former President Donald Trump. 

“I’m heartbroken that we don’t have the bipartisan commission,” she said. 

House Democrats were largely in favor of the select committee. Representative Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, described being one of the last members off the House floor when the attack unfolded. 

“As we were being taken to a secure location away from the mayhem,” he recalled, “as I was walking out, I looked over and I saw these people. Homegrown terrorists, I call them, literally smashing the doors with their bare fists and breaking the glass to try to get at us.” 

He then called out House Republicans for trying to “whitewash and minimize what went on,” presumably at the behest of Trump. 

GOP representatives were steadfast in their opposition to the select committee. Representative Brad Wenstrup, an Ohio Republican, called the resolution “incomplete” and “insufficient." 

“Why aren’t we including the event on Good Friday when the gentleman drove up and killed a Capitol policeman?” he asked, referring to an April 2 incident in which a car rammed into a barricade outside the Capitol. “He could have had a car full of explosive and pulled a Timothy McVeigh-type event.” 

Representative John Katko, a New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, voted against the select committee even though he co-sponsored the bill to create an independent commission alongside Democrat Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. 

“It would be a turbo-charged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and Capitol Police deserve,” he said in a statement on Monday. 

Follow Kaila Philo on Twitter

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