Mitch McConnell gives ‘maybe 50-50’ odds of bipartisan infrastructure deal as Democrats say they won’t drop climate initiatives

GettyImages mitch mcconnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • McConnell took a dour view on the likelihood of a bipartisan Senate group succeeding with an infrastructure bill.
  • He told a conservative radio host that its odds were “maybe 50-50.”
  • Pelosi signaled she’s unwilling to strike a deal with Republicans if it meant substantially cutting the package.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell provided a downbeat view on the latest roughly $1 trillion infrastructure framework negotiated by a faction of centrist senators from both parties.

The plan would provide just over $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending focused on roads, bridges, ports, and highways.

“Maybe 50-50,” the Kentucky Republican said in a Monday interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “Look, both sides would like to get an infrastructure bill.”

McConnell reiterated the by now familiar “red lines” for Senate Republicans: no modifications to the 2017 Republican tax law that would result in tax increases, and that any package should be paid for.

He suggested repurposing stimulus aid to states provided under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law to cover the cost. That’s already been shot down by the White House in previous negotiations with Senate Republicans.

“States and localities are literally awash in extra money. A lot of that is still in the pipeline,” McConnell said. “Why don’t we repurpose that, earmark it for infrastructure, which both localities would prefer to spend it on anyway?”

The bipartisan group encompasses 10 lawmakers from both parties and includes Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine.

On the Democratic side, it includes Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Jon Tester of Montana.

The framework is unlikely to contain the aggressive climate measures that many Democrats favor, which is a nonstarter among a growing group of Democratic senators. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also appears to be against dropping climate initiatives if it means passing a watered-down bill with the GOP.

“I have no intention of abandoning the rest of my vision,” Pelosi told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, adding the proposed measures “could have been talked about 50 years ago.”

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AOC steps up criticism of infrastructure talks with GOP, saying Democrats are ‘burning precious time’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, speaks during a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 7, 2019.

  • AOC ramped up criticism of talks with Republicans on Wednesday.
  • “McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock. It’s a hustle. We need to move now,” she tweeted.
  • A top Republican in a bipartisan group ruled out tax hikes for their infrastructure plan, a key Democratic priority.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York assailed the crawling pace of negotiations with Republicans on Wednesday, arguing Democrats are wasting time on the legislative calendar.

“Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission,” she wrote on Twitter. “McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock. It’s a hustle. We need to move now.”

She also cited the futile experience Democrats had negotiating the Affordable Care Act with Republicans over a decade ago. They eventually passed it without Republican backing.

The New York congresswoman also strongly criticized the idea of Democrats “playing patty cake” with Senate Republicans in an earlier tweet, saying the current array of economic, political, and climate challenges facing the country demanded urgent action.

It comes as Biden recalibrates his approach a day after pulling the plug on negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the chief Republican negotiator on infrastructure. Both sides failed to strike a deal with sharp disagreements on the size of a package and how to finance it.

Now, another bipartisan group led by Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mitt Romney of Utah is poised to take the lead. Romney, along with Sen. Bill Cassidy, told Insider on Tuesday that the group of 10 senators was eyeing repurposing stimulus aid to states to finance infrastructure spending. Biden has already rejected that approach.

Romney on Wednesday ruled out tax hikes in the emerging plan. Tax increases on large firms, wealthy investors, and other high-earning Americans have constituted a core part of Biden’s economic spending plans.

Four Senate Democrats who lean moderate also expressed heightened concern that climate provisions were at risk of being left out in any infrastructure package. Biden’s two-part plans include setting up electric-vehicle-charging stations across the country.

“An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote,” Sen. Martin Heinrich tweeted on Wednesday.

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Mitch McConnell reportedly asked other GOP senators to vote against the January 6 commission as a ‘personal favor’

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens as the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing on the “For the People Act,” which would expand access to voting and other voting reforms, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell asked GOP colleagues to block the January 6 commission as a “personal favor,” CNN reported.
  • McConnell announced his opposition to the bill last week, alongside other GOP lawmakers.
  • In order to advance the bill, at least 10 Republican senators must support it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked other GOP senators to vote against the January 6 commission as a “personal favor” to him, CNN reported Thursday.

Earlier this month, the House passed a bill to create a bipartisan commission that would investigate the January 6 insurrection. The bill has received pushback from Republicans, including McConnell, who announced his opposition to the commission on the Senate floor last week.

McConnell said the bill was “a purely political exercise” and accused Democrats of focusing on “things that occurred in the past.”

CNN reported McConnell went further in denouncing the bill by reaching out to his Republican colleagues to block the 9/11-style commission, two lawmakers who McConnell contacted confirmed to CNN.

“No one can understand why Mitch is going to this extreme of asking for a ‘personal favor’ to kill the commission,” one of the lawmakers told CNN.

Representatives for McConnell did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. An aide to McConnell told CNN he was unaware of the senator’s private conversations but it does not differ from his public remarks denouncing the commission.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to “put the Jan. 6 commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote,” regardless of GOP opposition to the commission. In order to advance the bill, at least 10 Republican senators must support it.

So far, only three GOP senators have indicated they will cosign the legislation: Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

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Manchin is in no rush to strike an infrastructure deal with Republicans – and it’s giving some Democrats ‘bad flashbacks’ to futile Obamacare talks 12 years ago

Joe Manchin 2
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wants Democrats to slow down on infrastructure.

  • Bipartisan infrastructure talks are likely to stretch into June with centrist Democrats reluctant to pull the plug.
  • Some Democrats are wary, citing failed efforts to secure GOP support for Obamacare in 2009.
  • “I’d keep pushing forward as hard as I could, but there’s not much time left,” former Democratic senator Max Baucus said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

With negotiations on a major infrastructure package likely to stretch into June, the White House is poised to blow past its self-imposed Memorial Day deadline, which was meant to ensure significant progress on a bipartisan plan.

Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) are preparing to make a $1 trillion offer as soon as Thursday. Another bipartisan group of six senators that includes Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) are preparing another offer to President Joe Biden in case those talks stall.

Manchin is insisting on more time to secure a deal, saying on Tuesday “this is the long game, not a short game.” The White House want to approve a multi-trillion spending package to upgrade roads and bridges, in addition to setting up universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, and cash payments to families.

But some Democrats doubt Republicans’ genuine interest in giving Biden a bipartisan victory and are wary of the ongoing talks turning into a time-consuming dud. They cite huge differences that remain to be bridged on the size, scope, and basic definition of infrastructure. Democrats are anxious to shepherd along new economic programs using their thin majorities in the House and evenly divided Senate.

Their potential to drag into the summer is prompting comparisons to negotiations over a decade ago between President Barack Obama and Republicans on overhauling the healthcare system.

“When I read the comments from Sen. Manchin asking for more time, all of a sudden I had bad flashbacks to Obamacare where there was a push and pull between the desire for more time and the reality that Republicans were never going for it,” Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), told Insider.

Max Baucus, a former Democratic senator and one of the architects of Obamacare, said in an interview he was getting “somewhat” a case of déjà vu seeing the infrastructure discussions unfold.

“I’d keep pushing forward as hard as I could, but there’s not much time left. I’d give it a month or so and then tell Schumer to push reconciliation,” the former Montana lawmaker said, referring to a legislative tactic available to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to approve some bills with only a simple Senate majority.

“I doubt you’re going to see much bipartisanship in the end”

obama sign affordable care act
President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House on March 23, 2010.

In 2009, the Obama administration chased support from a bloc of moderate GOP senators for the plan that became the Affordable Care Act. As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus spent five months trying to draw backing from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the panel, for a more “durable” health law.

That effort collapsed amid sharp disagreements on tax increases and whether Americans should be obligated to buy health insurance. Republicans stepped up their attacks and cast the healthcare bill as federal overreach, with Grassley falsely warning of the government “pulling the plug on grandma” at an Iowa town hall that August.

Anger over how voters perceived Obamacare contributed to major Republican victories in the 2010 midterms, one that lost the House for Democrats and effectively crippled the next six years of Obama’s legislative agenda. Now, Baucus sees his experience as a cautionary tale as Democrats attempt to forge ahead with a massive two-part package to reconfigure the economy with new spending on physical infrastructure, healthcare, and education.

“I doubt you’re going to see much bipartisanship in the end. Frankly, a lot of Republicans would rather not see a bipartisan bill,” Baucus told Insider. “They say they would, but deep down they don’t.”

Baucus said he believes next year’s midterms are already factoring into the negotiations, in the sense that a party-line reconciliation bill from Democrats would almost surely include tax hikes on the wealthy and large firms, and a lot of Republicans “are going to run against those tax increases in 2022.”

max baucus
Former Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in an interview he was “very concerned” about Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s endgame on infrastructure, pointing to his recent comment about being “100% focused” on thwarting the Biden administration. The GOP leader also made similar remarks early on in the Obama administration.

“I’m always going to try and get a bipartisan approach, but it’s certainly a bigger lift after a statement like that,” he said.

Yet other Democrats like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said they weren’t troubled by the state of the discussions. “I think we’re on the timeframe that I always thought we’d be on,” he told Insider. “Thus far, it’s soliciting their opinions.”

Kaine continued: “Even if we go reconciliation, we will put things in that bill that will be extremely attractive to Republican governors, to Republican mayors, to Republican interest groups.” He said he thought it was possible for Democrats to “pick up votes we weren’t expecting.”

The White House used reconciliation to approve a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill in March. Biden met with Senate Republicans once in early February in a bid to broker a deal. But he ultimately abandoned those talks by the end of the month after they only put $618 billion on the table. No GOP lawmakers voted for the Biden stimulus law.

There are signs that Democratic leaders are loathe to avoid watering down bills for the veneer of bipartisanship. “Look at 200[9] where we spent a year and a half trying to get something good done, ACA, Obamacare, and we didn’t do all the other things that had to be done,” Schumer said on MSNBC in late January. “We will not repeat that mistake.”

Schumer told reporters on Tuesday that Democrats will move ahead with a “big bold plan” in July, suggesting reconciliation looms in the near future. Still, Capito said her GOP group would “not walk away” from the negotiating table anytime soon.

“I think you go as far as you can, but then there comes a time where the other side is just not seemingly negotiating in good faith, so you gotta stop and pass your own bill,” said Baucus.

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McConnell slams the January 6 commission as ‘a purely political exercise’ and accuses Democrats of focusing on ‘things that occurred in the past’

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks after a GOP policy luncheon on Capitol Hill.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell dismissed a potential January 6 commission as a “purely political exercise.”
  • McConnell contended that Democrats would like to focus on “things that occured in the past.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to force a vote on the bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said that bipartisan legislation that would create a January 6 commission to examine the Capitol riot was a “purely political exercise” driven by Democrats.

The Kentucky Republican, who announced his opposition to the commission on the Senate floor last week, calling it a “slanted and unbalanced proposal,” accused Democrats of wanting to use a commission to attack former President Donald Trump.

“I think at the heart of this recommendation by the Democrats is that they would like to continue to debate things that occured in the past,” McConnell said. “They would to continue to litigate the former president into the future. We think the American people going forward, and in the fall of 2022, ought to focus on what this administration is doing to the country and what the clear choice is that we have made to oppose most of these initiatives.”

He added: “I think this is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information.”

The GOP resistance to a 9/11-style commission examining the deadly insurrection at the Capitol imperils a deeper investigation into the siege, along with recommendations on how it can be prevented from occurring again.

Last week, after weeks of negotiations, the House passed the bill in a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats to support the legislation despite vocal opposition from House GOP leadership, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Read more: A multitude of Trump-era mysteries are poised to come roaring back into the headlines. Everyone involved is bracing for what happens after that.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is planning to force a vote on the legislation in the coming days or weeks, but with only 50 seats, Democrats would still need 10 GOP votes to overcome a legislative filibuster.

So far, Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only Republican lawmakers in the upper chamber who have indicated support for the bill.

Senate GOP leadership has steadfastly lined up against the legislation.

In addition to McConnell’s opposition, Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota told CNN last week that a commission could undermine the GOP as it looks to next year’s midterm elections.

“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders – not relitigating the 2020 elections,” he said. “A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward.”

Trump, who in January was impeached for his role in the riot, chimed in last week to express his opposition to any future probes.

“Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission,” he said in a statement. “Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left.”

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is urging schools to stop teaching critical race theory, calling it a ‘dangerous ideology’

Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp listens to a question during a news conference at the State Capitol on Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Atlanta, about Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta over the league’s objection to a new Georgia voting law.

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wants schools to stop teaching critical race theory in classrooms.
  • “This divisive, anti-American agenda has no place in Georgia classrooms,” Kemp said.
  • His remarks are the latest in a push by Republican lawmakers to curtail the teaching of critical race theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday called for all public schools in the state to stop teaching critical race theory.

In a letter dated May 20, Kemp urged the Georgia State Board of Education “to take immediate steps to ensure that Critical Race Theory and its dangerous ideology do not take root in our state standards or curriculum.”

“This divisive, anti-American agenda has no place in Georgia classrooms,” Kemp tweeted.

He said in his letter that he wants Georgia schools to “focus on our goal of providing the highest quality education to every child in Georgia, without partisan bias or political influence.”

“Education in Georgia should reflect our fundamental values as a state and nation – freedom, equality, and the God-given potential of each individual,” he continued in his letter.

Kemp’s letter marks the latest push by Republican lawmakers to limit the study of critical race theory in the country.

Last month, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to encourage public schools to strip from their curricula projects that he claims promote “revisionism” of US history.

In a letter dated April 29, McConnell and 38 other Senate Republicans specifically referenced the New York Times’ 1619 Project, created to mark the date enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to American soil. The project’s goal to is place “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

McConnell said the 1619 Project and other programs strive to “reorient” US history “away from their intended purposes toward a politicized and divisive agenda.”

“Actual, trained, credentialed historians with diverse political views have debunked the project’s many factual and historical errors, such as the bizarre and inaccurate notion that preserving slavery was a primary driver of the American Revolution,” the letter says.

Some states have begun to implement the project in their curriculum. But the Education Department has not directly told public schools to use or incorporate it. Usually, school curriculum falls at the discretion of state governments rather than any federal agency.

But under President Joe Biden, the Education Department has floated the possibility of offering grants to schools that include the 1619 Project and similar materials in their learning plans.

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Capitol Police distances itself from an unofficial statement from officers expressing ‘profound disappointment’ in GOP leaders’ refusal to support January 6 commission

Mitch McConnell Kevin McCarthy White House
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) address reporters outside the White House.

  • The Capitol Police distanced itself from an unofficial statement from officers slamming GOP leaders for opposing the January 6 commission.
  • Some Capitol Police officers released an anonymous statement skewering Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell.
  • They expressed “profound disappointment” in the GOP leaders for their opposition.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Capitol Police distanced itself Wednesday from an unofficial and anonymous statement reportedly from some officers, saying the agency “does NOT take positions on legislation.”

“A statement is circling on social media, which expresses an opinion about the proposed legislation to create a commission to investigate January 6,” the USCP said in a statement to Insider. “This is NOT an official USCP statement. The Department has no way of confirming it was even authored by USCP personnel.”

The USCP also posted its statement in a tweet.

Earlier Wednesday, some self-proclaimed members of the Capitol Police released a statement slamming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over their refusal to support a bipartisan commission examining the January 6 Capitol insurrection and its aftermath.

The statement was signed “Proud Members of the United States Capitol Police,” and sent on the letterhead of the USCP. It’s unclear how many members signed the letter, but the officer who wrote the unofficial statement told CNN’s Jamie Gangel that it represents the views of 40 to 50 officers on the force and that the statement “needed to be out there. It needed to be done.”

“We members of the United States Capitol Police write this letter to express our profound disappointment with the recent comments from both chambers’ minority leaders expressing no need for a January 6th commission,” the letter said. “The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish.”

The statement went on to say: “If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”

It is “inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of USCP,” it continued.

The statement also said it is a “privileged assumption” for lawmakers “to have the point of view that ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ That privilege exists because the brave men and women of the USCP protected you, the Members.”

Wednesday’s letter concluded by noting that it “comes to you anonymously because as US Capitol Police Officers, we are expected to remain neutral and do our jobs with honor and integrity. It’s unfortunate that our ‘bosses’ (Congress) are not held to the same standard that we, the USCP are.”

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is on the brink of passing the bipartisan proposal to investigate the Capitol siege, but McConnell’s announcement that he will oppose the measure could doom its passage in the Senate, in which Democrats hold a slim majority.

The Kentucky lawmaker said the bill in its current form was “slanted and unbalanced,” adding that it’s “not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could lay on top of the existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.”

McCarthy also voiced opposition to the bill on Tuesday, saying in a statement, “Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation.”

McCarthy was presumably referring to what he and other Republicans describe as violence by so-called “antifa” and Black Lives Matters demonstrators, whose actions have nothing to do with the events that catalyzed the January 6 riots at the Capitol.

The siege was largely provoked by former President Donald Trump’s emphatic and sustained lie that the 2020 election was “rigged” and unfairly “stolen” from him, despite zero evidence supporting that claim.

Charles Davis contributed reporting.

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US Capitol Police officers express ‘profound disappointment’ with Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell’s refusal to support January 6 commission

Mitch McConnell Kevin McCarthy White House
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) address reporters outside the White House.

  • Capitol Police officers released a statement skewering Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell over their refusal to support a bipartisan bill to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot.
  • They expressed “profound disappointment” in the GOP leaders for their opposition.
  • Officers suffered “hours” of “physical trauma” and “mental anguish” as a result of the riots, the statement said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Members of the US Capitol Police released a statement Wednesday slamming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over their refusal to support a bipartisan commission examining the January 6 Capitol insurrection and its aftermath.

“We members of the United States Capitol Police write this letter to express our profound disappointment with the recent comments from both chambers’ minority leaders expressing no need for a January 6th commission,” the letter said. “The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish.”

The statement went on to say: “If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”

It is “inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of USCP,” the statement continued.

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McConnell said Senate GOP ‘undecided’ on commission to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol siege. 8 Senate Republicans voted against certifying the election after the attack.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks after a GOP policy luncheon on Capitol Hill.

  • Sen. McConnell said the Senate GOP is “undecided” on whether to back a commission to probe the Capitol siege.
  • The House is set to vote on a bill to establish a commission to probe the Jan. 6 riots.
  • Eight GOP senators voted to overturn the election even after the insurrection.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate Republicans are “undecided” on whether to support a committee to look into the Capitol riots.

The House is set to vote on a Democratic lawmaker-backed bill to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the events that transpired on January 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were voting to certify the results of the 2020 election.

Even after the January 6 siege on the Capitol, 147 GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to overturn the election, including eight senators, who backed challenges to certifying Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electors:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana – Arizona
  • Sen. Rick Scott of Florida – Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming – Pennsylvania

If approved by the House – which it is poised to do given the Democratic party majority – the bill goes to the Senate to confirm the commission. At least 10 Republican senators must support the bill for it to pass. McConnell said members of his caucus want to “read the fine print” of the legislation.

Read more: Joe Biden’s made-for-TV inauguration celebration was bankrolled by dozens of corporations who do business with government

“I think I’m safe in characterizing our conference as willing to listen to the arguments about whether such a commission is needed,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy pushed against the commission, describing the nature of the probe as “duplicative and potentially counterproductive.”

“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” McCarthy said in a statement on Tuesday.

McConnell’s remarks came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to “put the Jan. 6 commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote,” regardless of GOP opposition to the commission.

“Republicans can let their constituents know: Are they on the side of truth or do they want to cover up for the insurrectionists and for Donald Trump?” he said Tuesday.

McConnell said the Senate GOP will “react accordingly” should the legislation reach the Senate floor.

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McConnell says it’s difficult to be a Black conservative: ‘It takes a great deal of courage to deal with the peer pressure’

McConnell Scott
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, right, the sole Black Republican in the upper chamber, is accompanied by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, left, at a news conference on Capitol Hill on June 17, 2020.

  • In a recent interview, Mitch McConnell said that it is “very hard” to be a Black conservative.
  • He added that Black conservatives face “peer pressure” when expressing their political beliefs.
  • McConnell praised his colleague, Tim Scott, who is thought of as a potential 2024 GOP candidate.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said during an interview that aired on Sunday that it is “very hard” to be a Black conservative Republican.

During a conversation on Kentucky Educational Television, McConnell mentioned that “at least three or four members” of the Senate GOP caucus would likely run for president in 2024. The conversation quickly turned to Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the sole Black Republican in the upper chamber, who is thought of as a possible contender.

McConnell praised Scott, describing him as a “star.”

“He’s a remarkable individual,” McConnell said. “It’s very, very hard to be a conservative Republican African American. We have a similar all-star in Kentucky in Attorney General Daniel Cameron. It takes a great deal of courage to deal with the peer pressure that is put on African American conservatives. I admire them both greatly.”

Scott, who has taken a lead role in crafting a bipartisan police reform bill in the Senate, has seen his stock rise in Republican circles as a skilled communicator in party that has struggled to attract minorities in its ranks in large numbers.

Read more: The House’s history-making top security official talked with Insider about his plan to reopen the Capitol and ensure it will ‘never, ever be breached again’ after the January 6 attack

Last month, Scott gave the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress, recounting his adolescence growing up the South while also delivering a healthy blast of conservative criticism for Biden’s legislative agenda.

He also detailed his personal experience of being a Black man in America and chastised liberals for racial insults he said he has endured over the years for choosing to be a Black conservative.

“I have experienced the pain of discrimination,” he said in the response. “I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason, to be followed around a store while I’m shopping. I’ve also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called Uncle Tom and the n-word by progressives, by liberals.”

Cameron, a McConnell political protégé who was first elected to office in 2017, becoming the first Black attorney general in Kentucky history, is widely considered to be a top candidate to succeed the longtime senator.

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