All but six Republicans voted against advancing a bill that would create an independent commission to study the U.S. Capitol attack. Using the procedural mechanism known as the filibuster to end the bill’s discussion, Senate Republicans gave Democracy the finger.
Not even the mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries sustained during the insurrection, could sway the vote.
Gladys Sicknick requested meetings with Senate Republicans, hoping to impress upon them the importance of the proposed commission. Her son’s partner and two other officers who responded to the January 6 attack were also present for the meetings.
Things got tense when they visited Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who has repeatedly downplayed the Capitol attack. CNN reported that D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone laid into Johnson for his rhetoric. It seems like some Republicans only want to “back the blue” when it suits their agenda.
Only in the U.S. Senate can a team down 54-35 come out victorious. This is the type of interference in the Democratic process that opponents of the filibuster say warrants its end. While some liberal groups worry that ending the practice could lead to disastrous results on key issues such as abortion, there is growing support for its end.
In support of abolishing the practice, opponents of the filibuster point to its racist past. As previously reported by NewsOne, the modern filibuster has been used at various points since the early 1840s to protect pro-slavery planters and block anti-lynching and civil rights legislation.
But its racist present is equally problematic. Civil rights advocates point to the filibuster as an obstacle to passing an updated version of the Voting Rights Act.
Less than two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed a bill to establish an independent 9/11 style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. Thirty-five House Republicans broke ranks, voting in favor of the commission.
A compromise between the ranking Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, the commission would have been made up of 10 people chosen by the Congressional leadership of both parties. Such a commission would bring together subject matter experts to investigate and explore the event in question.
But more than investigating or studying an issue, commissions make recommendations for Congressional action.
Time recently reported that Congress has created more than 150 independent commissions since 1989. The Kerner Commission, one of the more famous commissions, was formed in 1967 after a wave of racial justice uprisings spread across several U.S. cities.
Some Democrats continue to hope that more Republicans will come to their senses and do what is right. By placing power, politics and party over the country, Senate Republicans have made their priorities very clear. They are only interested in winning, Democracy be damned.
There’s no space for excuses or rationalizations for Republican obstruction. Claiming they are acting out of “fear” ignores personal responsibility. American Democracy is in crisis.
Let’s be real; if it didn’t serve their interests, Republicans would not listen to anything Trump says or does. The only thing remarkable about this moment is the lengths that white supremacy will go to protect itself.