Congress takes a major step towards establishing a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack

capitol siege rotunda photo phone insurrection
Supporters of President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol’s Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

  • Leaders of a key House committee reached an agreement for the creation of a January 6 commission.
  • They proposed a bipartisan 9/11-style commission with subpoena power tasked with producing a report.
  • The bill creating the commission could be officially considered in the House by next week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Congressional leaders have reached a major agreement on the structure and scope of a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and ranking member Rep. John Katko, a Republican, announced a deal on the legislation on Friday.

Like the 9/11 Commission, the proposal for the 10-member commission includes the ability to issue subpoenas for relevant information on the insurrection. The group is tasked with producing a final report with “findings regarding the facts and causes of the attack” and solutions to prevent future attacks on the Capitol and other “democratic institutions” by December 31, 2021.

Five members, including the commissioner’s chair, will be chosen by Democratic leaders of the House and Senate and the other five, including the vice-chair, will be selected by their Republican counterparts.

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The commissioners, who cannot be currently serving as government employees, “must have significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity,” the proposal said.

The bill to formally establish the commission, titled the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act could be considered in the House as soon as next week, according to lawmakers.

“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,” Thompson said in a statement.

Five people died and around 140 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured on January 6 as hundreds of Trump supporters breached the US Capitol, many armed with weapons, to disrupt Congress’ counting of Electoral College votes to affirm President Joe Biden’s election win.

It was the worst attack on the US Capitol since the War of 1812.

“It is imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6 with an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type Commission to examine and report upon the facts, causes and security relating to the terrorist mob attack,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Friday statement.

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